The boys visited their uncle instead of____waiting for him to come. 1)The boys visited their uncle instead of they waiting for him to come. 2)The boys visited their uncle instead of them waiting for him to come.

  • Could you tell me why you were dissatisfied with the edit I made? See ell.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4783/… as well. – userr2684291 Mar 16 '19 at 13:02
  • People are more likely to answer helpfully if they can easily read the question. The change made previously improved readability. It would be better if it had been allowed to stand. – SamBC Mar 16 '19 at 14:01

Both of those sentences sound unnatural.

The most natural expression is to simply drop any pronoun:

The boys visited their uncle instead of waiting for him to come.

Which is actually a reversed form of this:

Instead of waiting for him to come, the boys visited their uncle.

But in a different construction, you would use they:

The boys didn't wait for their uncle to come; instead, they visited him.

| improve this answer | |

You don't need any pronoun there at all. It's fine without.

The boys visited their uncle instead of waiting for him to come.

Because the two verbs have the same subject, it does not need to be restated. They "did this instead of that", no need to have any explicit subject for waiting at all.

If you insist that you must have one, usual usage would be to use them. That's because this isn't a normal verb. With the pronoun there, "them waiting for him to come" is a noun phrase, with "waiting for him to come" being a participle phrase acting as an adjective on them.

| improve this answer | |


As weird as it may seem, grammatically and formally speaking, a pronoun as a subject of a non-finite clause must be in the possessive form.

In the examples you used above, them/they waiting for him to come is what we call a non-finite clause. We call it like that because the clause does not have a finite verb (a verb that shows tense) instead, it has a verb in either of its participle forms.

So, as I stated above, when the non-finite clause features a subject, it does not come in neither subject nor object form, unexpectedly, it comes in the possessive form: my, his, her, their, our, your, itsUI

Hence, that is how your examples should have been written:

The boys visited their uncle instead of their waiting for him to come.

Although them waiting for him to come sounds more natural since it is more often and mistakenly used.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Other examples of this: "Your arriving late didn't help either."; "Because of their loading the warehouse with fireworks, it burned to the ground in 15 minutes."; "Our sitting motionless allowed the chimps to forget we were there."; "Instead of their catching pneumonia, they decided to come in and warm up." – Lorel C. Mar 16 '19 at 14:31

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.