like him playing defense


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.
  • Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    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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