... not used to her looking after the baby

ablativ

Senior Member
German(y)
Context: A baby-sitter will look after the parents' baby for the first time.

The parents say: We are not used to her looking after the baby.

My question: Is "her" an object or a possessive pronoun belonging to "looking" (her looking)?

Would you say (talking to the sitter directly): We are not used to your looking after the baby / or: we are not used to you looking after the baby?

Thanks for any replies!
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The parents say: We are not used to her (the girl) looking after the baby.

    As for your direct conversation, you could use either one ... but I wouldn't. I can't imagine that conversation – all it does is express the obvious (we know it's her first time to babysit your baby).

    You would more likely be giving instructions of some sort: "Since this is your first time babysitting Phoebe, we'd like to go over a few basics with you."
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    "her" is an accusative object of "to" in "We are not used to her...looking after the baby". We can't use "she".

    "We are not used to you looking after the baby?" :tick: (For the same reason, it's just that "you" and "you" are the same in nominative and accusative.)
     

    ablativ

    Senior Member
    German(y)
    Okay, thank you; I understand that.

    But the other version I had in mind: "your looking" as an entity like "the looking" but with the possessive pronoun "your" - would that be also possible, and if so - would it be common to express oneself like that?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Both are fine, as I mentioned: We are not used to you/your looking after the baby. I would imagine you would hear "you" more often, but that's because a lot of people are not as comfortable with the "your looking" form ... or consider it more formal or grammatically correct than they would wish to use in that circumstance.
     
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