[Ads-l] prescriptivism problem

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Jan 27 12:01:52 EST 2019


Prescriptivists hold that the noun or pronoun modified by a gerund is to be in the possessive:
    "I like his doing the dishes" not "I like him doing the dishes".

Problem:  consider the following two sentences:
1)  I am worried about his having an affair.
2)  I am worried about him having an affair.

To me there is a difference in meaning between the two sentences, which implies both are grammatical.
1) sounds to me that "he" is currently having an affair.
2) sounds to me that "he" is not currently having an affair but is likely to do so in the future.

- Jim Landau

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