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Verbals such as "Someone's doing something" or "Someone doing something" are common. But when it comes to verbals in long structures, it gets confusing.

Here are some sample sentences with such structures.

1-She was against French invasion of England.

2-She was against France's invasion of England.

3-She was against France's invading England. (as in the case of "I don't mind his living with us.")

4-She was against France invading England. (as in the case of "I don't mind him living with us.")

In my opinion, they all seem to work grammatically. However, I am not sure whether they are all correct or interchangeable?

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    #1 is terrible, and #3 is pretty weird too, so you should avoid those. #4 is probably the most likely phrasing, which to my mind implies it's not unreasonable to assume #2 might have slightly different implications. Specifically, I think #2 more strongly implies the invasion is real, and has either taken place already, or is imminent (it might be an extremely hypothetical future possibility in #4 - certainly that form is unlikely to be used for an invasion that happened some time ago). Feb 26, 2022 at 15:37
  • The first one is strange, and the third one is incorrect
    – user150280
    Feb 27, 2022 at 8:00
  • You say the 3rd one is incorrect. Then look at this sentence: "I don't mind his living with us." This sentence is correct, isn't it. And it has same structure as "France's invading England.".
    – Yunus
    Feb 27, 2022 at 8:14
  • The devil is in the detail. #1 is unacceptable because it doesn't include the definite article before invasion. It's still syntactically "valid" in principle without the article, but I maintain that stylistically it's terrible. As to the object pronoun / possessive in I don't mind him/his living with us, that's been covered many times before. See When to use an object pronoun or a possessive adjective before a gerund, for example. Feb 27, 2022 at 12:30

1 Answer 1

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1-She was against French invasion of England.

2-She was against France's invasion of England.

3-She was against France's invading England.

4-She was against France invading England.

in 1), French, an adjective, describes the invasion. It answers the question: 'What kind of invasion?'. Clearly, this is a weird question.

in 3), invading follows a possessive noun and hence has to be treated as a gerund. We already have a noun invasion, so why do we need a gerund. This is hence weird too.

  1. and 4) are fine but have different meanings.

In 2), the focus is on the action, invasion. 'She is against the invasion.'

In 4), the focus is on the perpetrator, rather than the action. 'She is against France.' invading is a participle modifying France.

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  • Yes, Russian modifies invasion. It is not wrong. In the French invasion example, the context probably is clear that she was against an invasion, any invasions and not limited to the French type. Adding the adjective is hence weird. Feb 27, 2022 at 9:21

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