I'm not surprised at him/his having difficulties with the exam
Is it him or his? Why is it so? What is the grammar rule here? What would be some other examples where this rule is used?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
There is no rule: both are correct and both are used. The object form is more common in speech than the possessive determiner.
As Professor Lawler elsewhere notes:
It's one variant, and falutes slightly higher, but with pronouns there are many idioms. Gerund clauses have two complementizers: the normal Acc-ing complementizer (without him telling me), and the Poss-ing complementizer (without his telling me). Both are correct, both are common, but Acc-ing is somewhat more common in practice.
Notice how he calls the accusative one the normal one: that’s the one with him.