EN: despite my not being / my being not - negation placement

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by maxbellec, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. maxbellec New Member

    Hello too you all,
    I want to write something like :

    I would really appreciate you giving me a chance despite my being not a native speaker.
    Is that correct or shall I write my not being a native speaker ?


  2. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    You will have to write:

    ... despite my not being a native speaker.

    Despite my being not will mainly be followed, if I'm not mistaken, by an adverb + adjective:

    Despite my being not overly happy about it
    Despite my being not quite young
    Despite my being not in the slightest interested

    Also, I would write:

    I would really appreciate if you gave me a chance...

    But I don't think your sentence is wrong; to me it just sounds less natural.

    Wait for natives to reply :)
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  3. maxbellec New Member

    Thanks newg !
    Any native to confirm this ?
  4. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Native confirming ...

    "... my not being a native speaker" is the correct form; whereas "my being not a native speaker" is so unidiomatic that I'd class it as incorrect.

    I agree totally with newg's examples of "my being not" (chapeau, Gwen).

    As for the "if you gave ..." alternative, it would be "I would really appreciate it if you gave me a chance ...".
    That said, I would prefer max's version ("giving me ..."), especially if the context were even slightly formal. In this sentence it would also balance nicely with the preceding "my not being".

    The only issue there is whether it should be "I would appreciate you giving ..." or "I would appreciate your giving ...": both can be justified grammatically, but "your giving" represents the intended meaning more accurately, and tends to be preferred by purists. (Note, max, that you suggested "Despite my not being ...", and not "Despite me not being", so "your giving" should come naturally to you.)

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  5. maxbellec New Member

    Well it is now my turn to thank you Ws for your thorough answer !

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