Why we should all be terrified of Donald Trump winning in November.

Shouldn't it be "of Donald Trump's" in this example? —since this seems to be a gerund rather than a participle.

"Of Donald Trump's winning" to me is the same as "of Donald Trump's win", while "Of Donald Trump winning" is similar to "Why we should be terrified that Donald Trump wins in November."

However it doesn't look like one would ever use that construction here so maybe that's the reason the objective was used? One of my online dictionaries says "rely on somebody doing something" were correct. So this would be another example of the objective + gerund construction although I have been told gerunds are never preceded by objective cases.

  • I think some verbs can be followed by either "an object + ing" or "possessive + ing", having same meanings. For example, "I resent Donald wining the election", and "I resent Donald's winning the election". I saw such structures when the object was to write about how we think about an event.
    – Cardinal
    Mar 25, 2016 at 15:14
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    Similar question: Wow! Nice! I smelled you baking cake! Mar 25, 2016 at 15:37
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    It's certainly not true to say it should be of Donald Trump's winning. Technically speaking, that would be "valid" - but so is the "non-possessive" version in the title here, and there's no doubt in my mind that the non-possessive version is far more common, and sounds more "natural" for this exact context. Mar 25, 2016 at 16:58
  • I completely agree with this I have simply seen a lot of sources stating the gerund is only to be preceded by the possessive.
    – L.White
    Mar 25, 2016 at 17:08
  • For me to fully understand this though I have to go back to question I asked a while ago over at language and usage. If you remember answering that, you said it had to be "our watching the movie" in the frankly odd example sentence I made up. Does one not need a "of" here or is this omitted in these structures? ( " Our watching of the movie"). Even though you said Donald Trump's winning is far less common I at least understand why its correct. If I added "election" to this it starts becoming strange to me.
    – L.White
    Mar 25, 2016 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


I believe the issue here is that English speakers have a habit of leaving off information when it can be inferred from the context. The formal word for it is Ellipsis. And here, we can infer by context the missing words, replaced in bold italic in the quote below:

"Why we should all be terrified of Donald Trump winning the presidential election in November"

Any American who has seen the news within the last few months knows that Donald Trump is running for president, and identifying the win as occurring in November further reinforces the fact.

  • Way to hit the nail on the head. Mar 9, 2017 at 8:53

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