Is it correct to say:

John's interest in animals led him to becoming a vet.

Or is this the only correct form:

John's interest in animals led him to become a vet.

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    For the first you would usually swap to and him, ie "...led to him becoming a vet" Aug 14, 2017 at 11:31
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    I'd add that 'John's interest in animals led him to become a vet.' focuses on John's drive and decision, while 'John's interest in animals led to him/his becoming a vet.' suggest an inevitability. Aug 15, 2017 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


According to english-at-home.com, gerunds are a type of noun. Don't confuse gerunds with the present participle, which we often use in continuous tense forms, for example.

So the correct way of writing it would be "John's interest in animals led to his becoming a vet." Here, "becoming" acts as a noun, so you need to use the possessive pronoun "his".

  • 2
    Insisting on a possessive pronoun rather than an objective pronoun before a gerund is very fussy. See the answers to the following question: “…his parents' dream of him achieving a Cambridge degree.” What is the function of “him” here? I wouldn't give this advice without including a disclaimer saying that it is often not followed (and many people don't think it needs to be followed).
    – sumelic
    Aug 14, 2017 at 19:29
  • Sumelic, I'm sure that's true and don't you think it's more important to give a correct answer, than to kow-tow to the many who don't think it matters? My own view is that people asking that question should be grateful for Mentor's contribution and don't yet by a long way need to be worrying their heads about what better-experienced folk can't be bothered with. Aug 15, 2017 at 23:27
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    @RobbieGoodwin: My point is that it's disputed whether this advice is "correct". Mentor Luqman, your answer doesn't seem complete to me because the question asked about " led him to becoming a vet" vs. "led him to become a vet". This post doesn't explain whether an infinititive is correct, and it doesn't explain why or why not. I don't see how an explanation of the difference between gerunds and a present participles relates to the question.
    – sumelic
    Aug 16, 2017 at 18:54

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