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    #1

    "My giving her a hand..."

    Hey there. I came across a question today and I was kind of stunned by it. Here it is:

    My mother-in-law really appreciated ________ giving her a hand.

    A) My B) I was C) Mine D) I am
    The answer key says that the answer to the question is "My" but I'm really confused. Shouldn't it be "Me giving her a hand"?
    Just like "I was really upset by her leaving." or "Her shouting doesn't even matter." or "She cried over him having an accident."

    Do I know something wrong?
    Thanks.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "My giving her a hand..."

    Quote Originally Posted by kiezel52 View Post
    Hey there. I came across a question today and I was kind of stunned by it. Here it is:



    The answer key says that the answer to the question is "My" but I'm really confused. Shouldn't it be "Me giving her a hand"?
    Just like "I was really upset by her leaving." or "Her shouting doesn't even matter." or "She cried over him having an accident."

    Do I know something wrong?
    Thanks.
    The answer key is correct. You will also hear "me giving her a hand".
    "I was really upset by her leaving. "She was really upset by my leaving.""Her shouting doesn't even matter. "My shouting doesn't even matter."

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    #3

    Re: "My giving her a hand..."

    So my and me, both are correct but "my" is the formal usage and "me" is the informal usage. Am I right?
    What about the him/his part?

    - She cried over him having an accident.
    - She cried over his having an accident.

    or

    - His parents were devastated over him leaving.
    - His parents were devastated over his leaving.

    Which usage is correct?
    Thanks.

  2. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "My giving her a hand..."

    Both are correct.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "My giving her a hand..."

    Quote Originally Posted by kiezel52 View Post
    So my and me, both are correct but "my" is the formal usage and "me" is the informal usage. Am I right?
    What about the him/his part?

    - She cried over him having an accident.
    - She cried over his having an accident.

    or

    - His parents were devastated over him leaving.
    - His parents were devastated over his leaving.

    Which usage is correct?
    Thanks.
    Your paired constructions can be parsed as follows:

    a. transitive verb or preposition + objective pronoun + participle (adjective)
    b. transitive verb or preposition + possessive pronoun + gerund (noun)

    For a long time, only b. was considered correct by grammarians. Some still feel that way. But the usage in a. has become very common and is now considered acceptable to most. That said, a. is often considered less formal than b. Since the gerund and present participle have the same form, the only thing that changes is the pronoun.

    In most uses, the two versions convey the same meaning. Occasionally, however, the a. version incorrectly places the focus on the person rather than the action. Consider the following pair:

    My mother hates my drinking on weekends.
    My mother hates me drinking on weekends.

    The first can clearly be seen to focus the hate on the action. The second can be read as the hate being more personal.

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    #6

    Re: "My giving her a hand..."

    @bhaisahab
    @Grumpy
    @MikeNewYork

    Thanks so much. You've been really helpful. I've been thinking over these for a really long time. Always thought twice before using them. Now I think I've figured them out.

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