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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    his vs him

    Which sentence is most correct???

    Who would have guessed that (his or him) teasing my hair would make such a difference?

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    #2

    Re: his vs him

    Not a teacher.

    Either sentence is grammatically correct.

    The emphasis would differ, but only slightly.

    If you mean to emphasize that the teasing made a difference ( as opposed to some other action with your hair), then use "his."

    If you mean to emphasize that the person doing the teasing made a difference, use "him."

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    #3

    Re: his vs him

    Although many speakers would no doubt rate both as, to some degree or other, 'acceptable', I would slightly disagree with Dave that both can be called "correct".

    The use of an objective-case pronoun here is, at best, for informal use only, since removal of what then ought to be a mere optional participial (teasing my hair) would yield a non-sentence

    *Who would have guessed that him would make such a difference?

    The only fully "correct" form for the pronoun here is in fact the possessive case, irrespective of our 'focus' on the person vs. the action:

    Who would have guessed that his teasing my hair would make such a difference?

    , the -ing phrase thereby becoming a gerund and standing as the true - and, of course, obligatory - subject of the subordinate clause.

    Moreover, while conceding that the use of objective-case pronouns as a substitute for the possessive in such constructions is extremely widespread in daily speech, I would reject the argument that some genuine semantic distinction in terms of emphasis/focus is thereby achieved.

    Who would have guessed that his teasing my hair would make such a difference?

    can be distinguished just as well by vocal tone from

    Who would have guessed that his teasing my hair would make such a difference?

    as by any dubious morphological change!

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