1. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Which is grammatically correct: possessive or not?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lostinwebspace, Apr 3, 2011.

    Again, sorry for the really confusing (and awful) thread title, but I'm not sure what to call these sentence structures. Anyway, which is grammatically correct here?

    "Meredith was angry over him being apathetic to the situation."

    "Meredith was angry over his being apathetic to the situation."

    Is either one correct? Are there certain situations where one or the other is correct? If so, how do I know which I should use? Also, what do you call these sentence structures?

    (I know the sentence above can be better phrased, but I'm using it to illustrate my question. I'm not actually using it in a story.)
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd probably go with "his being" to be correct, but "him being" in casual conversation. :p
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    far as i know, either is correct... and only a matter of style determining which you might use...

    any dissent?
     
  4. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    Neither are incorrect. I prefer his... which seems a good deal more popular (the graph above cannot be wholly relied upon since it includes instances of him. being and him, being and his, being etc but it's reasonably representative.)

    (His apathy.. better still I fancy...should you ever require something along these lines)
     
  5. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    The only distinction I could see is this (I'll have to slightly modify my sentence):

    "Meredith was angry at him being apathetic to the situation."

    In this sentence, Meredith is angry at him. Why? Because he's apathetic to the situation.

    "Meredith was angry at his being apathetic to the situation."

    In this sentence, Meredith is angry at his apathy.

    But if there's no real distinction, I guess it's just up to opinion.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or better yet: "Meredith was angry at his apathy toward the situation."

    Note that your first example is nearly ambiguous. Notice the difference in meaning with the simple addition of a comma: "Meredith was angry at him, being apathetic to the situation." Now it is Meredith who is apathetic, and presumably angry because "he" cares more about the situation than she feels he should.
     

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