When the gerund is used in object position, we can say:

She hates his ignoring her.
She hates him ignoring her.

What if we use it in subject position?
Using a possessive adjective is correct. What about an object pronoun or a subject pronoun?
As in :

His ignoring her annoys her.
Him ignoring her annoys her.
He ignoring her annoys her.

  • 1
    "He ignoring her" is not correct by the way. It doesn't make sense. – Aric Aug 22 '17 at 9:55
  • @AricFowler you mean "Him ignoring her." is grammatical? – Englishfreak Aug 22 '17 at 10:09
  • 3
    "His" and "Him" both make sense. "He" does not. – Aric Aug 22 '17 at 10:11
  • 2
    @AricFowler Yes, and 'his' is more formal. – user178049 Aug 22 '17 at 10:45

First "He ignoring her" is not correct in any position. The subject of a gerund does not use a subject pronoun.

"She hates him ignoring her" and "She hates his ignoring her" are very close in meaning. In formal writing, the latter is preferred. In less formal contexts the former is common.

There can be a slight difference in meaning, the first suggests "She hates him when he ignores her" the second suggests "She hates the act of ignoring, when he ignores her."

You can often re-phrase, if using "his ignoring" seems to old fashioned: "She hates it when he ignores her." is correct and idiomatic.

The same goes for the gerund in subject position: both "his" and "him" are correct, but "his" is more formal, and you can rephrase "When he ignores her, she gets annoyed."

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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