[Grammar] In spite of us/our coming late to the party, we had a lot of fun.

Buddy42

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Dear teachers,

is there a difference between:
a) In spite of us coming late to the party, we had a lot of fun.
b) In spite of our coming late to the party, we had a lot of fun.

The possessive pronoun "our" in b) refers to the gerund "coming" and indicates that "coming late" somehow belonged to us that night.

But what about a)?
Is "coming" here a gerund as well? If yes, why is "us" in the object form here? Isn't it the gerund's subject? Or does this form refer to the introductory "In spite of"? Or is it rather a participle?
 

emsr2d2

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

Dear teachers,

Is there a difference between these two sentences?

a) In spite of us coming late to the party, we had a lot of fun.
b) In spite of our coming late to the party, we had a lot of fun.

The possessive pronoun "our" in b) refers to the gerund "coming" and indicates that "coming late" somehow belonged to us that night.

But what about a)?
Is "coming" here a gerund as well? If yes, why is "us" in the object form here? Isn't it the gerund's subject? Or does this form refer to the introductory "In spite of"? Or is it rather a participle?

I'm going to leave it to a grammarian to answer your main question but I want to point out that neither sentence sounds natural (in BrE, at least). We would probably say:

- Despite getting to the party late, we had a lot of fun.
- Despite arriving late, we had a lot of fun at the party.
- Even though we arrived late, we had a lot of fun at the party.
 

Buddy42

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

I see and agree. Thank you for your prompt answer.
What if I changed the main clause into: , our friends had a lot of fun. ? Would it sound a little more natural then?
 

GoesStation

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

Either sentence is fine. I don't see why a grammatical analysis is necessary.
 

GoesStation

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

What if I changed the main clause into [STRIKE]: ,[/STRIKE] [no colon or comma] "our friends had a lot of fun"? [STRIKE].[/STRIKE] [no period ("full stop" in British English)]
See above. Use quotation marks or italics to mark quoted text. Any other method is wrong.
 

jutfrank

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

Some people (including myself) would say that the two forms can have a subtle difference in meaning, and that grammatical analyses tend to miss this key point.

This particular sentence pair is not at all suited to showing such a difference, however. And as emsr2d2 points out in post #2, both sentences are unnatural. You don't need to use either word (us/our).
 

emsr2d2

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

You would need to use the word if the second half of the sentence didn't apply to the same person/people. For example:

Despite your arriving late, I had a lot of fun.
Despite our arriving late, they were very kind to us.
 

Buddy42

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

Despite your arriving late, I had a lot of fun.
Despite our arriving late, they were very kind to us.

That makes sense, thank you. But still, would "you" or "us" be suitable here as well?
 
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TheParser

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

NOT A TEACHER

Buddy, some people (such as I) feel that there is a difference. I have made up this absurd example.



The president of a country: OK, I am now ready to accept questions from you reporters.

Reporter X: Mr. President, do you mind if I ask a question of you?

The president (who really, really, really dislikes Reporter X): Yes, I do mind you asking me anything. Now please sit down. Next reporter, please!

Reporter Y: Mr. President, I have a question.

The president: I am delighted about your asking me anything that you wish.

As you can see, the president uses "you" to emphasize the person who is asking the question; however, he uses "your" to refer to the "asking."
 

Buddy42

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Re: Possessive or object pronoun after in spite of + gerund

Thank you, TheParser, that makes it a lot clearer! And thank you, too, for this wonderful dialogue, which is quite witty.
 

Rover_KE

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Please note that I have changed your thread title.

Extract from the Posting Guidelines:

'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'
 
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