About me joining

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keramus

Senior Member
Persian
Hello everybody.
Is this sentence grammatically correct?
I would appreciate it if you gave your opinion about me joining your research team/group.
Is the structure about me joining grammatically correct?
Thank you in advance.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Not really. It should should be, "about my joining." Nevertheless, many people do say and write it with "me," under the mistaken impression that the pronoun is governed by the preposition, as it would be in a sentence like "He wrote a book about me."
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Unfortunately for learners of English, this is one of the cases where native speakers do not agree on what is grammatically correct. Some insist on "about my joining". To please everybody, you have to avoid the structure altogether.
    Not at all. Especially in semi-formal to formal writing, "about my joining" won't raise a single eyebrow. You might as well tell people that they must under no circumstances call something "all right," for fear that people who misspell that phrase as "alright" will be offended.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    won't raise a single eyebrow
    I regret to inform you that it will raise both my eyebrows. I will class the writer as stuffy, old-fashioned and elitist, and out of touch with how everyone I know speaks. I might let Keramus off, because he is not a native speaker.
    mistaken impression that the pronoun is governed by the preposition
    I don't think this is the structure. Me is the subject of the gerund joining, and the subjects of gerunds always take the me/him/her form. Consider the sentence Me/Him joining is what annoyed her. (This is another sentence that I would say, but that I would never write if I thought that sticklers might be reading.)
     
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    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Me is the subject of the gerund joining, and the subjects of gerunds always take the me/him/her form.
    You're right that it's a gerund, but unfortunately a gerund is a noun, and nouns don't have subjects. "My" is correct because a possessive pronoun can modify a noun.

    You probably meant to say that it was a participle (as in a present-progressive form), but that would be incorrect, since a participle can't be the subject of a verb (as in *"He is talking annoys me") or the object of a preposition (as in *"your opinion about me am joining").
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    a gerund is a noun, and nouns don't have subjects.
    Unlike your typical noun, gerunds can have objects: (1) I am thinking about joining a club.
    Why then should they not have subjects as well? (2) I am thinking about Fred joining a club.

    English also has verbal nouns, which have neither subjects nor objects, but they would be unusual here: (3) I am thinking about the joining of a club.

    Incidentally, I think that in example (1) we would normally understand the subject of the gerund joining to be I. I am thinking about joining a club normally means I am considering the possibility that I might join a club, not I am thinking about how people feel when they join a club.
     
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    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Why then should they not have subjects as well? I am thinking about Fred joining a club.
    Whether or not they should is, I guess, an interesting question if you are in the position of having to invent a language for dwarves to speak in a fantasy book or something. The more important issue here, though, is whether or not they do; and the answer is that in standard English they don't.
     
    This site has a lot of data, a portion of which I give below. First I give a quotation from the Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2637

    This construction, both with and without the possessive, has been used in writing for about 300 years. Both forms have been used by standard authors. Both forms have been called incorrect, but neither is. Those observers who have examined real examples have reached the following general conclusions: 1. A personal pronoun before the gerund tends to be a possessive pronoun in writing […] 2. The accusative pronoun is used when it is meant to be emphasized. 3. In speech the possessive pronoun may not predominate, but available evidence is inconclusive.

    ===


    Brett R said,

    September 18, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    In the British National Corpus (1970s-1990s), genres break out this way:

    Spoken: 13% genitive [the possessive form, 'his' 'my' etc.]
    Fiction: 73%
    Magazine: 10%
    Newspaper: 39%
    Non-acad: 43%

    Academic: 94%
    Misc: 94%

    ===

    ADDED: Paul Q in an old thread, post #2 said the same thing as I'm saying.

    http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/john’s-being-john-being-possessive-with-gerund.2553317/
     
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