Well, I know that I can colloquially say:

It has nothing to do with you being poor

The whole bolded phrase acts as a noun or gerund. Can I apply the rule so that the phrase acts as an object of a verb?

Don't let you being tired affect your enthusiasm

That led to him breaking up with her

Can I use it as subject as well?

You standing here doesn't mean that you are the criminal.

Are these type of sentences confusing? or is it commonly used and well-understood? I'd like the answer to be according to the colloquial American accent.

  • In American English, "your being tired" is more natural in the proposed context than "you being tired".
    – Jasper
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 23:00
  • "That led to him breaking up with her." is completely natural in American English. Having "that" be the subject of the sentence, and using "breaking up" to refer to ending a romantic relationship, are both slightly informal, as requested.
    – Jasper
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


You might use the genitive/possessive rather than the accusative/objective; that's a matter of preference, though. "Me being poor"/"my being poor", "him breaking up with her"/"his breaking up with her". Which is more natural will depend on dialect.

These are all examples of a gerund phrase. In such cases, the -ing form of a verb is called the gerund. Gerunds are often used on their own as nouns - "running is good for you". In that case, while they are still a form of verb, they function as a noun on their own, and have neither subject nor object. However, in a gerund phrase they can have subject, object, or both - and thus the gerund's nature as a verb is clearer, but the whole phrase acts as a noun in the same way that a gerund might on its own. It is certainly widely understood, and indeed widely used.

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