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Thread: him or his

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    him or his

    Ted replies that he won't miss Brian's non-witty, non-snappy remarks about his age. Emmett has to add, "Although I did think that him referring to you as Dead Man Walking was kind of amusing."


    Shouldn't it be his referring?

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Re: him or his

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy
    Ted replies that he won't miss Brian's non-witty, non-snappy remarks about his age. Emmett has to add, "Although I did think that him referring to you as Dead Man Walking was kind of amusing."


    Shouldn't it be his referring?
    Yes. I would not accept "him" in that sentence. That would make "him" the subject of the clause "him was amusing". One could use "he" but "his" is far better. :wink:

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    In British English, 'his'is the formalform and 'him' the informal.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In British English, 'his'is the formalform and 'him' the informal.
    You would accept "him" as the subject of a clause?

  5. #5
    Susie Smith Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In British English, 'his'is the formalform and 'him' the informal.
    You would accept "him" as the subject of a clause?
    In formal English, a possessive adjective is used to modify a gerund, as in
    Mr. Jones complained about our coming to class late.

    In informal English, the object form of a pronoun is often used, as in
    Mr. Jones complained about us coming to class late.

    The same is true for nouns used to modify a gerund.

    formal: Mr. Jones complained about Mary'scoming to class late.
    informal: Mr. Jones complained about Mary coming to class late.

  6. #6
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    In BE, it doesn't really matter whether it's subject or object; many would use 'him' there. In fact, many speakers would never use the formal form at all.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In BE, it doesn't really matter whether it's subject or object; many would use 'him' there. In fact, many speakers would never use the formal form at all.
    True. True. I hear it, too. The standard, ahem, informal standard these days is to use a noun (e.g. Michael) or the object pronoun (i.e. him) instead of a possessive noun or pronoun (Micheal's / his). The evolution of such wonderful new forms has everything to do with that nasty little, Chomsky-lovin' preposition 'about'. It's a great example of Language in Change--right up their with It's me ~ It's I. Speakers, having lost the traditional form, rely on the general rule: use an object noun/pronoun after a preposition.

    What's wild about that is this. Changing the rule changes the syntactic and associated semantic structure:

    They (Subject) disgaree about (Verb) him (Direct object) putting up his posters (Indirect object).

    They (Subject) disagree about (Verb) his putting up his posters (Object).

    :D 8)

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