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Thread: him or his

  1. Anonymous
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    #1

    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. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    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:

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    #3
    In British English, 'his'is the formalform and 'him' the informal.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4
    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?

  4. Susie Smith
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    #5
    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.

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    #6
    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.

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #7
    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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