After watching this video with the following examples:

  1. I appreciate your coming here.
  2. He resents Marry's being promoted.
  3. I am tired of Migel's complaining.

I do not understand why in this exercise (on the last page) they wrote:

  1. We sat and watched the girls dancing.

instead of:

  1. We sat and watched the girls' dancing.

Can somebody explain me which variant is the correct one and why?

  • 1
    Both are correct. The meaning is slightly different. But I don't see this exercise in the PDF you link. – Andrew Mar 9 '17 at 18:15
  • All your examples are syntactically valid, but the possessive forms are at best "unnecessary", so they'd usually be avoided in the interests of simplicity. In the case of the last one (what happened to examples #4 and #5, and why have you got #6 twice?) no-one would know which version you intended in speech anyway (but equally, they probably wouldn't care, since it doesn't actually change the meaning, just the way one might label the "parts of speech" used). – FumbleFingers Mar 9 '17 at 18:18
  • @Andrew, it is at the very end of the pdf, on the last page. – DimanNe Mar 9 '17 at 18:21
  • @FumbleFingers, these examples are from different sources. 1-3 are from the video about possessive gerunds, and 6 is from exercises on the last page of the pdf. – DimanNe Mar 9 '17 at 18:28
  • That wouldn't help anyone here if they wanted to refer to any of your examples - particularly given that @Andrew says he can't find your examples in the linked document anyway. I haven't looked myself, but whether that's true or not, I still think it's better to assign a meaningful number sequence here, so I've done the edit for you. – FumbleFingers Mar 9 '17 at 18:38

The text of that question is:

We sat and watched the girls(dance) .....

But I think I understand your question, why is it "girls dancing" and not "girls' dancing"? As I mentioned in my comment both are grammatical, but the meaning (or as FumbleFingers points out, at least the part of speech) are different:

I watch the girls dancing = The girls are dancing and I am watching them.

I watch the girls' dancing = The girls have a dance, which they are currently doing, and which I am currently watching.

It's a difference that doesn't make much difference, so we tend to keep it simple unless required.

I can hear the birds singing from my bedroom.

From her window she could see the cats hunting birds in the yard.

  • But I think I understand your question, why is it "girls dancing" and not "girls' dancing"? Yes, you understood my question absolutely right. – DimanNe Mar 9 '17 at 19:20
  • The girls' dancing = the dancing of the girls, not the boys. – Lambie Mar 9 '17 at 23:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.