his taking / him meddling [case with gerund --possessive; genitive, accusative]

Learner...

Senior Member
Urdu
I am confused about the the nominative and accusative case in the following sentence structure:
  • I can't remember his taking a single day off work. (Oxford dictionaries)
  • I don't want him meddling in our affairs. (Oxford dictionaries)
Is it alright to use any case or there is some rule about it?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's genitive in the first sentence. Nominative is 'he', which can't be used for the subject in this position. Both genitive and accusative are correct, and have the same meaning. Both are common for pronouns. You could say 'him' in the first sentence and 'his' in the second.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    This version would sound very odd:

    I don't want his meddling in our affairs.:thumbsdown:

    You don't want him to meddle in your affairs, so use "I don't want him meddling in our affairs". I find it difficult to explain convincingly why the genitive version doesn't work in this sentence.
     

    Learner...

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    It's genitive in the first sentence. Nominative is 'he', which can't be used for the subject in this position. Both genitive and accusative are correct, and have the same meaning. Both are common for pronouns. You could say 'him' in the first sentence and 'his' in the second.
    Yes it's genitive I wrote it by mistake. Thank you for your help.
     

    Learner...

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    Once I asked in a previous thread the similar kind of question which remained unanswered. Whether it is grammatically correct to say:
    Have you ever wondered about him being Mr. Pal's son? (Maybe he has adopted this child)
    Someone suggested me it would be appropriate to use 'his being'.
    Is that so? Is 'him being' really not appropriate?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Many people would use 'him being'.

    People who prefer the genitive/possessive case, use it when the focus is on the action [being Mr Pal's son], rather than the person 'him'.
    (I am one of those people who would prefer the genitive in this sentence.)

    I believe you will find this thread helpful in explaining when people use the genitive/possessive 'his', and why.


    You can find more threads on this controversial subject by searching for gerund possessive.
    We tend to refer to the pronoun 'his' according to its function [possessive] rather than its case [genitive].
     
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