mention him + gerund

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Gabriel Malheiros

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hello, everyone

I am a little bit confused about "gerund".

I know that a sentence like "I hate him bossing me around" is correct. So, my question is: are sentences like "I didn't even mention him showing off at the party" correct?

Thank you
 
  • Comrade Momentai

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    Truth be told the sentence should be thus.

    I didn't even mention his showing off at the party.

    No one would say you were wrong in how you said it though, despite technically being incorrect.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It isn't "technically incorrect". The only technicality is what you decide to call the "-ing" form of the verb. Using conventional terminology, the verb form in your two sentences is not a gerund, it's a participle. Given that you know that "I hate him bossing me around" is correct, why do you think "I didn't even mention him showing off at the party" might be incorrect?

    "I hate his bossing me around" and "I didn't even mention his showing off at the party" are also correct, and you can then call the "-ing" form a gerund, but you should be aware that these forms with the possessive are decreasingly used in everday English.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    It isn't "technically incorrect". The only technicality is what you decide to call the "-ing" form of the verb. Using conventional terminology, the verb form in your two sentences is not a gerund, it's a participle. Given that you know that "I hate him bossing me around" is correct, why do you think "I didn't even mention him showing off at the party" might be incorrect?

    "I hate his bossing me around" and "I didn't even mention his showing off at the party" are also correct, and you can then call the "-ing" form a gerund, but you should be aware that these forms with the possessive are decreasingly used in everday English.
    So is "I didn't even mention him showing off at the party" correct indeed?
     

    Comrade Momentai

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    Andygc it depends on whom you ask, but some people would argue that "him showing off" is incorrect. I prescribe to that belief but like I said it really doesn't matter. Either way is fine.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm happy with "I didn't see him showing off at the party"/"I didn't like him showing off at the party"/"I didn't say anything about him showing off at the party"; but I don't think I'd say "I didn't mention him showing off at the party".

    I'll have to try to work out why....
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I'm happy with "I didn't see him showing off at the party"/"I didn't like him showing off at the party"/"I didn't say anything about him showing off at the party"; but I don't think I'd say "I didn't mention him showing off at the party".

    I'll have to try to work out why....
    Why not? How would you use the verb "mention" in a sentence like that?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    If I could answer your "Why not?" now, I'd have done so, Gabriel;). I'll sleep on it and see if I have anything sensible to say in the morning....
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    but I don't think I'd say "I didn't mention him showing off at the party"
    I feel the same way as Loob here, and like Loob I can't say why I feel as I do.
    Ahh, saying what I would say is not the same as saying what is right or wrong. I use both the possessive and objective pronouns before the "-ing" form, and in this particular case I would be more likely to say "I didn't mention his showing off at the party", just like Loob, and likewise for her other examples. Why? Not for any grammatical reason; it just sounds better to me.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Ahh, saying what I would say is not the same as saying what is right or wrong.
    Clearly not, but sometimes the only thing I know is what I say. If I am aware that others say it differently, I'll generally say: "... but I am aware that some people say ..." - but in this case I don't know how other people would say it, which makes it impossible for me to say what's "right" and what's "wrong" (and you'll notice I didn't use either term).
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    (and you'll notice I didn't use either term).
    Of course you didn't. My comment about right and wrong referred back to an opinion way back in the thread that one form was incorrect, not to your preference (and mine) which you clearly did not present as the "correct" version.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The fruits of my overnight pondering aren't very impressive, but I think my concern about "I didn't even mention him showing off at the party" has something to do with the verb mention.

    The problem isn't that I prefer "I didn't mention his showing off" to "I didn't mention him showing off"; indeed, in most situations where I can choose between I {verb} him x-ing and I {verb} his x-ing, I'm more likely to choose I {verb} him x-ing. Rather, it's that - as far as I can tell* - "I didn't mention him showing off" isn't an option for me. This is true of other verbs, too: I {verb} him x-ing isn't an option for me with "acknowledge" or "discuss": I acknowledged him showing off:thumbsdown:, I discussed him showing off:thumbsdown:.

    As to Gabriel's question about what I would say, I agree with sound shift's post 14: I'd probably say "I didn't even mention that he showed off at the party".

    ........

    *As always, the more you think about something, the harder it is to be certain:rolleyes:.

     
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