preclude

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Wookie, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Wookie

    Wookie Senior Member

    Korea, Korean
    I found this example from the entry of "preclude" in the OALD.
    "His religious beliefs precluded him / his serving in the army. "

    #1 His religious beliefs precluded him from serving in the army.

    I know #1 is correct. I'd like to know if these two are both correct.

    #2 His religious beliefs precluded him serving in the army.
    #3 His religious beliefs precluded his serving in the army.
     
  2. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    #2 is incorrect (should be gerund preceded by possessive, as in #3, not objective case).
     
  3. Wookie

    Wookie Senior Member

    Korea, Korean

    What about the example in the OALD? Is this not correct?
    "His religious beliefs precluded him / his serving in the army."
     
  4. gasman Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Oddly, I think both him and his are acceptable; why I don't know, or can't explain, but I would use "his" preferably.
     
  5. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    The following are correct:

    1) "His religious beliefs precluded him from serving in the army."

    2) "His religious beliefs precluded his serving in the army."

    In 1) "him" is the object of the verb and "serving" is the object of the preposition "from." "from serving in the army" is a prepositional phrase modifying the verb.
    In 2) "serving" (a gerund or verbal noun) is the object of the verb and "his" modifies (shows possession of) "serving."

    "His religious beliefs precluded him serving in the army."
    Although understandable and in no wise ambiguous, this is incorrect. You can use it in colloquial speech, but not in written discourse.
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are two ways to use preclude, according to the OED.
    You may preclude <someone> from <something>.
    You may preclude <something>.

    So it is correct to say:
    ... precluded him from serving in the army.
    -or -
    ... precluded his serving in the army.

    - which is saying more or less what cyberpedant said.
     

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