# I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite my having spoken to him hours before

Oswinw011

Senior Member
Chinese
# I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite my having spoken to him hours before
# I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite having spoken to him hours before
Hi, everyone
I wonder if both sentences are correct. What if I change the second one into: # I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite someone's having spoken to him hours before. Is it still working?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That my jars badly. It’s totally unnecessary. You would only need to add it if the subject of the main clause was someone other than you!

    He went ahead with it anyway, despite my having warned him how dangerous it was.

    EDIT: Having read the OP sentence again, I realise it’s far from idiomatic (or logical?) anyway.
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That my jars badly. It’s totally unnecessary. You would only need to add it if the subject of the main clause was someone other than you!

    He went ahead with it anyway, despite my having warned him how dangerous it was.
    Thanks lingobingo, I just edited the thread. I wonder if that subject is proper. Someone's or Someone?
     

    Jack Rabbid

    New Member
    English & Dutch
    "I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite someone's having spoken to him hours before" does not work: the -'s in "someone's" is out of place, and it would only be appropriate if you knew that someone had spoken to "him", but you did not know whom.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite someone's having spoken to him hours before. Is it still working?

    I wonder if that subject is proper. Someone's or Someone?
    You obviously need to specify the subject of the second clause if it’s different from that of the main clause, as I’ve already pointed out.

    I agree wth JR that the possessive in someone’s is unnecessary – it just sounds pedantic. But the sentence is odd anyway. The second clause reads like a non-sequitur. It would be better if you clarified exactly which grammatical point you’re unsure about and gave a simpler example. ;)
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite someone's having spoken to him hours before" does not work: the -'s in "someone's" is out of place, and it would only be appropriate if you knew that someone had spoken to "him", but you did not know whom.
    Thanks Jack. I had checked a grammar book which says, Nixon's visiting China was historic =Nixon visiting China was historic.
    So if I change that original post into: I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite Mary having spoken to him hours before. Does it still work?
     

    Jack Rabbid

    New Member
    English & Dutch
    Now that I re-read my post I realise that I was not clear: what I meant to say was that the possessive in "someone's" is unnecessary, and that the use of "someone" itself would only be acceptable in the particular situation where it is relevant to mention that "he" spoke to someone, but only if you didn't actually know who. Grammatically correct, but a very limited range of application from a semantic point of view.
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    You obviously need to specify the subject of the second clause if it’s different from that of the main clause, as I’ve already pointed out.

    I agree wth JR that the possessive in someone’s is unnecessary – it just sounds pedantic. But the sentence is odd anyway. The second clause reads like a non-sequitur. It would be better if you clarified exactly which grammatical point you’re unsure about and gave a simpler example. ;)
    Thanks lingobingo :( that's a problem, im working to find out the exact grammatical term to describe what I wanted to say. I don't know what the name of that structure in grammar is.
     

    Oswinw011

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Now that I re-read my post I realise that I was not clear: what I meant to say was that the possessive in "someone's" is unnecessary, and that the use of "someone" itself would only be acceptable in the particular situation where it is relevant to mention that "he" spoke to someone, but only if you didn't actually know who. Grammatically correct, but a very limited range of application from a semantic point of view.
    Oh, got it.
     

    Jack Rabbid

    New Member
    English & Dutch
    "I couldn't find him no matter what I did, despite Mary having spoken to him hours before."

    Yes, that sentence is correct in most ways, although to borrow a phrase from lingobingo, it still feels a bit like a non sequitur, because anyone reading it is going to wonder: why would the fact that Mary had spoken to him make it easier for the speaker ("I") to find the person ("him")? There is no clear logical connnection between "Mary had spoken to him" and "I could not find him".

    Overall, I would advise avoiding such constructions as "Nixon's visiting China" and so on. That's a possessive with a gerund, and that's some advanced stuff that even a lot of native English speakers have difficulties with.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The grammatical points involved are:

    (1) The subject of the ing-form is not needed if it's the same as the subject of the main clause. (You can use it, but it's not needed.)
    (2) When used, the subject can be accusative/plain (me; the doctor; Nixon) or genitive (my; the doctor's; Nixon's).
    (3) In present-day English, the genitive still sounds natural for pronouns - both choices are common. With full nouns, we rarely use the 's form today, though it was more common in the past.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The grammatical points involved are:

    (1) The subject of the ing-form is not needed if it's the same as the subject of the main clause. (You can use it, but it's not needed.)
    (2) When used, the subject can be accusative/plain (me; the doctor; Nixon) or genitive (my; the doctor's; Nixon's).
    (3) In present-day English, the genitive still sounds natural for pronouns - both choices are common. With full nouns, we rarely use the 's form today, though it was more common in the past.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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