Should I use 'of him' or 'of his' in front of 'being + adjective' or 'being + past participle'? For example:

Throughout this year Brian has maintained a rather laidback attitude at times bordering on laziness. Occasional glimpses of his being engaged came only during team competitions when Brian couldn’t escape from the activity.

1 Answer 1


If you want to talk about glimpses of the person himself, you use him - an object pronoun referring to the person himself.

If you want to talk about glimpses of the state a person is in, you use his a determiner that refers to some property of the person, because you are talking about his state.

In the sentence that you quoted, Brain (should that be Brian?) is normally lazy, and only becomes involved in things (is engaged) during team competitions.

You can see Brain the person any time that you look at him. The glimpses are on the rare occasions when his state is engaged, so you get glimpses of his being engaged.

  • Can you, please, elaborate a bit? I kind of don't see the difference between glimpses of the person himself and glimpses of the state that person is in.
    – brilliant
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 5:25
  • What do you think the passage in my question is talking about? Is it about the person or about that person's state?
    – brilliant
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 5:38
  • @brilliant I have expanded my answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 9:01
  • I see now. Thank you.
    – brilliant
    Commented Jun 2, 2021 at 9:37

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