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Unfortunately, he forgot to support the brickwork above the hole he had made, and the bedroom floor above sagged about a meter and they had to call in a builder to put it right. It was his wife who insisted he do any work out in the garden in future.

The last sentence I am not sure if it is right, after "It was his wife who insisted he DO..." Maybe it is not right. Why do? —maybe him doing instead of the written example? Please explain the grammar.

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  • Where is the fragment from? Did you write it yourself? "Who insisted [that] he ...whatever" - the bold part is a subordinate clause, in which 'he' is the subject 'do' is the predicate. Perhaps you want to make them correspond in person and number? Sep 12 '15 at 21:24
  • No, friend, it was written by russian teachers, actually i understand what the matter is, but, it sounds not pretty to my mind
    – Jane
    Sep 12 '15 at 22:53
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Correct

Any of the following are correct:

  • It was his wife who insisted he do any work out in the garden in the future.
  • His wife insisted he do any work out in the garden in the future.
  • His wife insisted he do all work out in the garden in the future.
  • His wife insisted he do all future work out in the garden.
  • His wife insisted he do all future work in the garden. (Recommended)
  • His wife insisted he work exclusively in the garden in the future. (Recommended)

I recommend either of the last two sentences because, as a general rule, "shorter is better."

Incorrect

I believe (with about 80% certainty) the following is incorrect.

  • It was his wife who insisted on him doing any work out in the garden in the future.

The problem there is with the word him. I believe it should be he because he is the subject of that clause.

Explanation

There are many permutations and combinations available that are also correct that I did not list. I'm sorry I can't explain the technicalities of why these are correct as I am a native English speaker and most native speakers often don't know why what is correct is so, only what is correct and what is not.

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  • In the "incorrect" case, pedants would insist on "his," indicating the the verb is a gerund, and thus a possessive is in order. However, common usage accepts both "him" and "his." I do not think that "he" would be correct here. Not that your reasoning is wrong--"he" has just as much of an argument as the other two.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 13 '15 at 17:46

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