Today I asked a question on this issue and my intention was to know more about the difference between the two sentences that I provided in the question, but it was marked as a duplicate of this and this.

Although I didn't ask whether those examples are grammatically correct, I accept that it's a potential duplicate since my examples were not chosen carefully.

Let's get back to my problem with such sentences. Suppose that you want to say something in a comment (like facebook) and there is not enough context to rule out some options. Consider the following examples:

  1. He liked the manager signing the paper.
  2. He liked the manager's signing the paper.

In nutshell, I think

  • First sentence means he liked that specific manager who was signing the paper.
  • Second one means he liked the way that manger signed the paper.

Would you please tell me your opinion on this?

  • "He liked the manager's signing of the paper" is the interpretation invited by the second, as you say. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Perfect example. In this case, the two do mean something different, exactly as you suspected. You could also say "He liked that the manager was signing the paper." to avoid the gerund and retain the meaning of the second definition/example.

  • Your example is ungrammatical in BrE since "like" doesn't license a content clause on its own. It's fine with "it", though: "He liked it that the manager was signing the paper".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 6:16

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