like him playing defense

Discussion in 'English Only' started by azz, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. azz Senior Member

    a. I like him playing defense.

    Can't this sentence have three different meanings:

    1. I like his playing defense. I like the way he plays defense.
    2. I like him when he plays defense. (Consider these sentences: I like her wearing light colors./I like her playing comic roles)
    3. I like him to be playing defense. (Something a coach might say... Consider these sentences: I like my desk sitting in front of the window... I like it to be in that position)

    Many thanks.
  2. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hi azz, you're right. The meaning can only be judged from the rest of the context, not on the basis of a single out-of-context sentence. Note too, that there would be other (more preferable, because they are clearer) ways of expressing these different possible meanings.

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