using someone's

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Zaeem

Member
Saudi Arabia, Arabic
hi,

I would like to ask you if this sentence is correct or not.


My English teacher made it like this, but I am still not sure whether it is right or not:
"In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's using file-sharing technology in the wrong way."

I am confusing about the underlined word. (is it correct? if not how to fix it?)


I would like to make sure that this sentence means that "people who use file-sharing technology in the wrong way might result in losing good programs."

thanks in advance
 
  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The sentence sounds fine to me. "Someone" needs to be possessive because it modifies "using". You would also say,

    "... the result of my/his/their using file-sharing technology ...", :tick:

    and not

    "... the result of me/him/them using file-sharing technology ..." :cross:
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Zaeem,
    I agree with Old Novice (and your teacher), but it is worth pointing out that you would often hear or read "... result of someone using ...."

    ...
    The sentence does, indeed, mean what you want to mean.
     

    french4beth

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I think that the contraction "someone's" comes from "someone" + "has" ("someone was/has been using technology the wrong way").

    Another possibility:
    "In addition, if people use file-sharing technology the wrong way, they can lose a lot of good programs."
    (using an active structure vs. passive)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    hi,

    I would like to ask you if this sentence is correct or not.


    My English teacher made it like this, but I am still not sure whether it is right or not:
    "In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's using file-sharing technology in the wrong way."

    I am confusing about the underlined word. (is it correct? if not how to fix it?)


    I would like to make sure that this sentence means that "people who use file-sharing technology in the wrong way might result in losing good programs."

    thanks in advance
    To me, "someone's use of" makes sense, as does "someone using". Mixing the two, however, doesn't look correct to me.

    "In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone using file-sharing technology in the wrong way." :tick:

    In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's use of file-sharing technology in the wrong way.":tick:

    In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's using file-sharing technology in the wrong way." ??? :(
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    To me, "someone's use of" makes sense, as does "someone using". Mixing the two, however, doesn't look correct to me.

    "In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone using file-sharing technology in the wrong way." :tick:

    In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's use of file-sharing technology in the wrong way.":tick:

    In addition, losing many good programs might be the result of someone's using file-sharing technology in the wrong way." ??? :(
    I think this is another case in which formal usage and ordinary speech may conflict. Here is a source that argues strongly for using the possessive in front of a gerund. Here is one that disagrees in at least some cases. But as far as the original question goes, I think Zaeem's teacher is providing the standard answer for formal English, and so is correct at least to that extent. (And for at least one native speaker, it sounds just fine this way. :) )
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Zaeem,
    I agree with Old Novice (and your teacher), but it is worth pointing out that you would often hear or read "... result of someone using ...."

    ...
    The sentence does, indeed, mean what you want to mean.
    Panjy, it's another "prescriptive matter", and Elroy pointed it out to me

    It's the result of me misunderstanding.
    It's the result of someone misunderstanding.

    Both these sound 100% correct to me, but in formal writing, again considering tests, these would almost certainly be corrected to:

    It's the result of my misunderstanding.
    It's the result of someone's misunderstanding.

    I correct this over and over again when writing in WR (trying to write conservatively), but I almost always revert to the "wrong" choice in conversation

    Pardon me (my) interrupting…

    I'll say "me" everytime unless I think about it in advance. :)

    Gaer
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think that the contraction "someone's" comes from "someone" + "has" ("someone was/has been using technology the wrong way").
    I disagree. I am certain it was meant to be a possessive.

    As has been pointed out, the possessive would be required by prescriptivists before the gerund here. I personally adhere to that rule in writing but not always in speech. :)

    (The possessive would not be required in a sentence like "I see him dancing" but I won't go into detail since that's a little off-topic.)
     

    MissFit

    Senior Member
    #1 The problem is the result of me misunderstanding.
    #2 The problem is the result of my misunderstanding.

    This is why #1 is incorrect (or at least non-standard grammar) and #2 is correct. It's not me (all of me) that caused the problem (though I may be to blame)--it's specifically the misunderstanding that caused the problem. The misunderstanding that caused the problem is the misunderstanding that occured in my thoughts (as opossed to your thoughts, or Joe's thoughts)--therefore it's my misunderstanding.

    I recall that my ninth grade English teacher spent a great deal of time pounding this one into our heads thoroughly. People use sentences like #1 all the time, but I wouldn't recommend it in an SAT (college entrance exam) essay or a grad school thesis.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    #1 The problem is the result of me misunderstanding.
    #2 The problem is the result of my misunderstanding.

    This is why #1 is incorrect (or at least non-standard grammar) and #2 is correct. It's not me (all of me) that caused the problem (though I may be to blame)--it's specifically the misunderstanding that caused the problem. The misunderstanding that caused the problem is the misunderstanding that occured in my thoughts (as opossed to your thoughts, or Joe's thoughts)--therefore it's my misunderstanding.
    Fine. But why didn't you quote my message? I said much the same thing:
    gaer said:
    Both these sound 100% correct to me, but in formal writing, again considering tests, these would almost certainly be corrected to:

    It's the result of my misunderstanding.
    It's the result of someone's misunderstanding.
    You may have understood politeness and understatement on my part for lack of understanding. Not ALL teachers adhere so closely to prescriptive rules. Most do, and quite obviously standardized tests do so.

    I object to the label "non-standard grammar". Those who write tests may rule the academic world, but those of us who do not choose to adhere to these rules at all times, especially in speech, are not using "non-standard" English.

    That is a very poor and very narrow label.
    I recall that my ninth grade English teacher spent a great deal of time pounding this one into our heads thoroughly. People use sentences like #1 all the time, but I wouldn't recommend it in an SAT (college entrance exam) essay or a grad school thesis.
    Of course not. We are always careful to point out to students what will be required on such tests. :)
     

    Zaeem

    Member
    Saudi Arabia, Arabic
    Thank you all for clarifying and answering my question.




    Originally Posted by Banana24
    Hi,
    the above answers seem good, i just thought I might add that you would say "I am confused" not "I am confusing".
    thank you Banana24 for correcting my writing.
     
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