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I'm looking for the rules concerning when you use possessive pronouns combined with a verb of "-ing" form. What's the combination called and how does it work?


  • Thanks to my going to school I know a lot of things.
  • I object to his going to the dentist.

Can you also say this?

  • Thanks to me going to school I know a lot of things.
  • I object to him going to the dentist.

marked as duplicate by StoneyB, pyobum, ColleenV, Chenmunka, M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Sep 1 '15 at 15:51

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It's called gerunds. Gerunds are derived from verbs and serve as nouns. Since they serve as a noun, they need possessive case of nouns to modify them. That's the reason, your latter examples sound ungrammatical.

I object to his (possessive) going

and not...

I object to him (not possessive) going

A good reference from Washington State University's page

Verb forms ending in “-ing” can function as nouns and are sometimes preceded by pronouns. Such verb/noun forms are called “gerunds.” You’ll often see sentences like this:

“I didn’t appreciate him returning the car with the gas tank empty.”

But “returning” is a gerund, so it should be preceded by a possessive pronoun:

“I didn’t appreciate his returning the car. . . .”

Good question :)

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