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    #1

    Is this good English?

    Can someone tell me if this sentence is correct:-

    Of course that depended on his finding a way to do it.

    Should I not say:-

    Of course that depended on him finding a way to do it.


    The first sentence seems very polite/formal but perhaps it is gramatically correct but just not used much today.

    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: Is this good English?

    Both sentences are correct but the second sentence sounds much better. Maybe the focus is on the person rather than his action (his finding a way).

    not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: Is this good English?

    *** NOT A TEACHER ***
    The first sentence is correct according to what I was taught in the uni. What you have here is the gerund and it may take a posessive pronoun (in your case it's "his") or a noun in a posessive case.

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    #4

    Re: Is this good English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    Can someone tell me if this sentence is correct:-

    Of course that depended on his finding a way to do it.

    Should I not say:-

    Of course that depended on him finding a way to do it.


    The first sentence seems very polite/formal but perhaps it is gramatically correct but just not used much today.

    Thanks
    (Not a teacher, but a translator)
    I would like to say that the emphasis of the first sentence is on "his finding" while that of the second one on "him". I see eye to eye with tedtmc.
    Last edited by albertino; 29-Apr-2010 at 12:08.

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    #5

    Re: Is this good English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    Can someone tell me if this sentence is correct:-

    Of course that depended on his finding a way to do it.

    Should I not say:-

    Of course that depended on him finding a way to do it.


    The first sentence seems very polite/formal but perhaps it is gramatically correct but just not used much today.

    Thanks
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Anne.

    (1) I agree with the other posters.

    (2) Here is an example from my favorite grammar book:

    (a) Mr. Jones disapproves of HIM marrying Mona. (Mr. Jones does not like the guy who wants to marry his daughter.)

    (b) Mrs. Jones disapproves of HIS marrying Mona at this time. (Mrs. Jones feels a June marriage would be better.)

    (3) Of course, please remember: some (many? most?) native speakers do not understand this difference. So it might be impossible to know which meaning is intended by the speaker. Of course, in real life there is no problem: the speaker will make him-, herself very clear with additional words.

    Thank you.

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    #6

    Re: Is this good English?

    Quote Originally Posted by albertino View Post
    I would like to say that the emphasis of the first sentence is on "his finding" while that of the second one on "him". I see eye to eye with tedtmc.
    And that's why grammar 'experts' say that "his" is correct. They tell us that the focus is supposed to be on "his finding...", not on "him".

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    #7

    Re: Is this good English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack8rkin View Post
    *** NOT A TEACHER ***
    The first sentence is correct according to what I was taught in the uni. What you have here is the gerund and it may take a posessive pronoun (in your case it's "his") or a noun in a posessive case.
    Strictly speaking, it's "his" and this post explains why.

    It makes even more sense to use this if the sentence is about the "him" in question. His success depends on his finding a way to...

    Compare:
    • I'm depending on him to find a way to make it happen.
    • I'm depending on him finding a way to make it happen. (This is the one in argument.)
    • I'm depending on his finding a way to ... (I have to trust in his abilities.)
    • He's depending on him to find ... (Sound like two people)
    • He's depending on himself to find... (Emphasizes the importance of his own self-reliance)
    • He's depending on him finding a way to make it happen. (He's depending on him? No.)
    • He's depending on himself finding a way ... (Would you say this? I wouldn't. I suggest that if you argue that "him" is okay in the original, you need to accept this one too.)
    • He's depending on his finding a way to make it happen. (He's depending on his
      own abilities. Okay.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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