I'm not really sure about this expression i found many times but never on grammar books:

I don't want him coming
(Want + sb/sth + verb+ing)

Is it formal, informal and is it better to use it in everyday speech or writings?

  • It sounds weird to me, but I'm not a native speaker. I would say I don't want him to come. However, I see him coming is normal.
    – Archa
    Jun 23, 2016 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


Sure, you can say I don't want him coming. I don't see any issues with that. Usually you would use it with a prepositional phrase.

I don't want him coming to my barbeque.

I don't want that alcoholic coming to the wedding.

Without the prepositional phrase, it'd be more common to say:

I don't want him to come.

But I don't see any issue with I don't want him coming in spoken English.

  • 1
    +1. We don't want the feds nosing around our moonshine operation.
    – TimR
    Jun 23, 2016 at 22:26
  • I think, gramatically speaking, I don't want him coming is wrong. Simply, because want is followed by an infinitive, so it's actually I don't want him to come. Now, do native speakers consider correct the former constuction both speaking and grammatically?
    – Schwale
    Jun 23, 2016 at 23:01
  • @Ustanak want is also followed by verb+ing when you use an object between them, and it is grammatical
    – Cardinal
    Jun 24, 2016 at 0:39
  • 1
    @Ustanak: Here want is followed by "someone|something -ing". "We don't want the pot boiling over, so watch it." "We don't want them getting the wrong idea". We could also say "pot to boil over....them to get the wrong idea". The tendency in more formal writing is to use the to-infinitive there.
    – TimR
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:51

I don't want him coming

is very informal and implies

I don't want him coming along.
I don't want him coming with us.

or possibly something else depending on the surrounding context.

It means you don't want "him" around with you when you go somewhere.

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