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I'm doubtful whether to use the gerund form or the base form of have in the following sentence:

He's afraid of being debunked in public and have/having his reputation ruined.

I would choose having as the correct option if I had to, because it acts as the object of the preposition of--He's afraid of being debunked in public and (consequently, he's afraid of) having his reputation ruined. However, have sounds more natural to me.

Which would be grammatically correct in the context of the example above: having or have? Is it common to use have in these types of sentences in informal speech?

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    I think you got it right, grammatically, but I would understand it as he's afraid of one thing: "being debunked in public and (consequently) having his reputation ruined". – Damkerng T. Nov 14 '15 at 0:42
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He's afraid of being debunked in public and have/having his reputation ruined.

The coordinating conjunction and connects two gerund-participial clauses: "being debunked in public" and "having his reputation ruined". Both are objects of the preposition of.

If we use have instead of having, we will violate the parallelism of this construction.

So yes, having seems the correct choice.

Your second question,

Is it common to use have in these types of sentences in informal speech?

..is very interesting. Maybe being and having clash in some way, and one feels the urge to use have? Maybe "being" and "having" make the construction feel non-parallel, and one instinctively tries to remodel the sentence to:

He's afraid of being debunked in public, and also afraid to have his reputation ruined.

..and this remodeling goes only part of the way in speech, leaving us with

He's afraid of being debunked in public and have his reputation ruined.

Could it be so? I'm not a native speaker, so I'm not sure. (0:


What if we left only being in the sentence?

He's afraid of being debunked in public and being left with his reputation in ruins.

I feel the urge to get rid of the second being here:

He's afraid of being debunked in public and left with his reputation in ruins.

Now the parallel structures are "debunked in public" and "left with his reputation in ruins", and they hinge not on of but on being. Maybe because of this ability of being to take on parallel structures one can feel that being and having clash with each other?

Just a conjecture.

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    It's my personal take that the parallel format works best as you say. I feel like "afraid of" is also applied to the stuff after "and", so we need "having". The cause and effect nuance is still achieved by "and". My conjecture is that the urge to use "have" stems from the construction "afraid to X and Y", where X,Y are verbal phrases, X is cause and Y is effect. – Senjougahara Hitagi Nov 14 '15 at 4:42
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    Native speaker (American, northeast) perspective: "He's afraid of being debunked in public and have his reputation ruined" sounds quite jarring to me, and it would immediately be recognized as incorrect grammar in speech or writing. – David Z Nov 14 '15 at 14:54
  • @SenjougaharaHitagi - a nice observation! It may well be so! – CowperKettle Nov 14 '15 at 19:32
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"Having" is the grammatically proper phrase. Gerunds make the phrase a noun phrase, while the bare verb makes it a verbal phrase, and "afraid of" usually takes a noun phrase. The "and" makes "afraid of" apply to both phrases.

He's afrad of [noun phrase] and [noun phrase]

He's afraid of being debunked in public and having his reputation ruined

Compare this to "afraid to" which takes a verbal phrase:

He's afraid to get debunked in public and have his reputation ruined.

I'm not exactly sure why I see the "and" makes it necessary to parallelize the phrases. Also I'd like to note that in this particular case, both seem decently natural, even if not 100% idiomatic. Nobody is going to notice anything odd if they hear these sentences, because they won't notice that you've essentially made the ungrammatical phrase "afraid of have ...".

However, for shorter sentences, it's way worse. For example, one colloquial phrase I've heard a few times is "going and getting".

Have you thought about going and getting your wisdom teeth removed.

In this case, because the phrase is so short, it's very obvious that "about" is applied to "getting you wisdom teeth removed", so replacing "getting" with "get" would sound very unnatural.

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"He is afraid of A and B." The verbs used in the phrases A and B need to match form, therefore "being" and "have" would be incorrect together, while "being" and "having" would be correct. Alternatively, "He is afraid he will be debunked in public and have his reputation ruined."

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