Is the first sentence correct? Does it have the same meaning as the second one?

  1. Him knowing four languages helped him with getting a job.
  2. The fact that he knows four languages helped him with getting a job.
  • 1
    "Getting". Two t's. Although you could say "helped him get a job". I think sentence one should be "His knowing four...", but either way sentence 2 sounds better to my ear. – nnnnnn May 18 '16 at 20:36
  • "Getting". Sure. – Marek May 18 '16 at 20:47
  • 1
    Knowing four languages helped him get a job. – Alan Carmack May 18 '16 at 20:57
  • I would not use "him" in any formal context. I think it is unnecessary without some specific reason for using it. – user3169 May 18 '16 at 21:52

The first sentence is correct, and has the same meaning as the second one, but it is awkward. The one suggested by AlanCarmack (without "him") would be the preferable phrasing.

See also other questions tagged .

  • Depends how pedantic you want to be. Traditionally, it should be his knowing .... – TRiG May 18 '16 at 21:12
  • That's the reason I referred to other questions. Specifically this one. – laugh salutes Monica C May 18 '16 at 21:16
  • Him knowing sounds awkward to me, but his knowing doesn't. – Ringo May 18 '16 at 22:28

It's all a matter of what kind of English we're talking about here.

The first sentence is a possessive gerund. In formal English, I believe Him knowing is incorrect; it would be His knowing instead. But here's a person who says this kind of traditional grammar is "rubbish":


I don't necessarily agree with him. I think his knowing is a little more precise than him knowing. I guess I'm old-fashioned.


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