Accusative, Nominative of Genetive here?

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starrgo_rin

Member
English - British
Hello,
I asked in another place the following question:

"Because of I" or "Because of me"
In the cases such as "Because of me having seen the cat, ..." or "In virtue of them being tall, ...", etc.
should one use the nominative or the accusative case? Should it be as written above, or "Because of I having seen the cat, ..." or "In virtue of they being tall, ..."?


Then the people said that this must be the gerund, and I should use the genitive case therewith.

I replied this:

"Aha, that clearly is an option, thank you, although what if I am intending to use it not as the gerund, but as a verb (present participle), would there be other possibilities? For instance, it seems proper to say "I have seen him being angry". Or is it proper to say "I have seen his being angry?" "I have heard them playing music", or "I have heard their playing music"? It seems that both can be correct, depending on the intention, no (with the genitive case, it is indeed the gerund, but with accusative, a present participle)? If these can be correct, why would "Because of them playing music" and "In virtue of him being angry" would not be?

1. Clearly, in the case "I have seen him" we should use the accusative, and not the genitive.
2. "I have seen him playing" is the same sentence, but it only has an additional descriptive element of the object ("playing"), just like "I have seen him red" or "I have seen him being red" or "I have seen him jumping".
3.Therefore, with the past participle, it seems, we can use the accusative, for the unit "I have seen him" still remains in power, notwithstanding a descriptive addition of the object ("playing").
4.Therefore, "Because of him being tall" seems also to use the accusative, if simply in "Because of him" we use the accusative (as in "Because of him I was late").




PS I certainly know that "In virtue" is correct too, meaning the same as "By virtue".

So, which one of the three is it? Are there other possibilities?

Lastly, when using no verb for the object, should we use accusative or nominative: "We were late because of I" or "We were late because of me"?
I know, that in the cases like "It is I" or "I and she went to school" there is clearly nominative, but what about "because of", "in virtue of", etc.?
 
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello starrgo_rin.

    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I'd like to break this down a bit.

    After a preposition like 'of', we use the 'object' forms of pronouns [me him her us them] when the pronouns are used alone. So it would always be 'because of him', if that were the complete phrase.

    After prepositions, we can also use nouns, and noun forms such as the gerund: because of seeing [the cat]'.

    If we want to include the information that he was seeing the cat, it gets more complicated. If we want to focus on him and what he did, we say "because of him seeing the cat." If we want to focus on the "seeing" rather than the person who did it, we can use the possessive: "because of his seeing the cat."

    At this point it we really need to see the rest of the sentence. What happened as a result of this seeing? Did he faint? Or did he give away a terrible secret?

    The discussion is further complicated by the fact that in many contexts where traditional grammar would require the possessive with the gerund, many people would use 'him seeing'. So this is also acceptable.

    I think we need more information about him and the cat and whatever consequences there were from
    their encounter. What's the whole story?

    Meanwhile, I will look for some earlier threads on the use of the gerund with the possessive.

    Added: Here are two previous threads that seem especially helpful:
    Gerund possessive: him jumping or his jumping
    Gerund, possessive: <you, your> smoking ... <him, his> watching me

    You can find more by using the search box at the top of the page to search for gerund possessive.
     
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    starrgo_rin

    Member
    English - British
    Thank you very much for such a detailed answer!
    So, as I understand, both the gerund with the genitive and the accusative can be correct, depending on the context?

    "The discussion is further complicated by the fact that in many contexts where traditional grammar would require the possessive with the gerund, many people would use 'him seeing'. So this is also acceptable."

    Right, I am not at all looking for what is "acceptable", but strictly for what is truly correct: how, say Dickens or even Locke would have written, not how people speak today on the television.
    As I understand, the problem with many people using the accusative as in "him seeing" is not completely incorrect in virtue of being so, but only is incorrect when used in improper context, right?

    "So it would always be 'because of him', if that were the complete phrase."
    Hence, "Because of I" would be completely incorrect under any circumstances, right?

    "What's the whole story?"

    Aha, so here are the concrete examples (albeit I think it would be useful to extract therefrom a rule, whereby it would be possbile to be guided in the future):

    "Of course, some people, perhaps even the majority, were made to believe in Protestantism and question Catholicism not in virtue of them employing independent reason, but because in their town there was still only one priest, but now Protestant..."

    "Similarly, some dictators in the developing world reject civilisation and declare it evil in virtue of them desiring, but not being able to attain it."

    "It is equally silly to hate and to withhold one’s vote from a politician, because of him or her having no finger, as it is to admire and give one’s vote to him or her for the same reason."
     
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