[Ads-l] prescriptivism problem

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Jan 27 17:01:52 UTC 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

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list