It's possessive. Debbi's presence.
- For Teachers
I have read an example of gerunds which is, "Nick resented Debbi's being here".
I can't understand the construction of the word 'Debbi's' here.
Does it mean 'Debbi is being' or does it mean a possessive construction Debbi's
like 'It's', 'Tom's' etc.
Which one I should use; Debbi is here or Debbi's presence?
It's possessive. Debbi's presence.
Thank you very much for your help. :)
"Nick resented Debbi being here" is also possible.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
1. May I share an idea that some experts feel is accurate.
a. Nick resented Debbi being here. = Nick feels resentment toward Debbie. He probably does not like her.
b. Nick resented Debbi's being here. = Nick resented the presence of Debbi (although he may personally love her).
Here is a bad example of mine, but it may help give you an idea of what some experts say.
The president (speaking to reporters): Are there any more questions?
Reporter No. !: What do you think about [blah blah blah].
The president: Please excuse me, but I do not want your asking that sensitive question at this time. Later, please.
Reporter No.2 : I have another question, sir.
The president: Sit down! I do not ever want you asking a question of me. Do you understand?
In "your asking," the emphasis is on the "asking." In other words, this is the wrong time to ask the president that question.
In "you asking," the emphasis is on "you." The president simply wants nothing to do with reporter No. 2.
I, of course, do not know, but I suspect that few Americans follow that "rule." I suspect that they have heard that
good English always requires the possessive before a gerund, so they just use the possessive. As you can see from
my examples, sometimes NOT using the possessive can express a person's meaning more clearly.
Thank you for your detail explanation and it is really helpful, ~possessive before a gerund... .~
I'll remember it and it will help me clear this kind ambiguity.
It is a bit difficult to remember at the time of speaking .
Many use "I hope you don't mind me asking you a question" but, according to your explanation, it is also possible (it sounds natural) "I hope you don't mind my asking you a
I apologize for not explaining more clearly those ideas in my first post.
1. I think that the appropriate question in most circumstances is, indeed, "I hope (that) you don't mind my asking you a question."
2. Using "me" would be correct (according to the ideas in my first post) if you were emphasizing that it was
you who were doing the asking. Remember reporter No. 2 in my first post, whom the president apparently
dislikes? Well, let's say that reporter No. 2 meets the president later in the day. The reporter knows that the
president dislikes him, but he has a job to do, so he respectfully asks, "Sir, I hope you don't mind me asking
you a question again -- even though I know that you dislike me."
3. I agree with you that choosing the right pronoun at "the time of speaking" can be confusing. So may I
leave you with two points:
a. Go ahead and use the possessive in every case. (I don't think that anyone dislikes you!)
b. I am 99.99% sure that most Americans are not aware of this "rule." In fact, I am sure that many
(most?) Americans may actually use "me." In other words, they see no difference between "me" or "my"
in that kind of sentence. (They should -- in almost all circumstances -- use "my" for "good" English, of course.)
P.S. Here is an example from one of my favorite grammar books:
a. I do not approve that man coming with Mary.
b. I do not approve that man's coming with Mary.
According to the scholars who wrote the book:
a. = disapproval of the man is indicated.
b. = the coming of the man is not approved.
* Homer C. House and Susan Emolyn Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (1950, second edition), page 319.
Last edited by TheParser; 21-Oct-2012 at 11:31.