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Verbs + Other Verbs (#7), by Dennis Oliver

Verbs + Other Verbs (#7):
Subjects of Gerunds

 

When a gerund (verb + -ing) is combined with another verb,
the subject of the verb is given and the subject of the gerund
is assumed to be general (for example, anyone, anyone from
a particular group, people in general) or the same as the subject
of the main verb.

Examples:

He recommended arriving at the meeting early.
(The subject of
arriving is anyone attending the meeting.)

Bob anticipated being at the meeting.
(
Bob is the subject of both anticipated and being.)

Admissions requirements include passing a difficult test.
(The subject of
passing is anyone applying for admission.)

She enjoys singing.
(
She is the subject of both enjoys and singing.)

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Sometimes, however, it's necessary to show different subjects
for the main verb and the gerund. When this happens, the subject
of the gerund is a possessive form.

Examples:

He recommended our arriving at the meeting early.
(The subject of
recommended is he, but the subject of
arriving is we; we is changed to its possessive form.)

Bob anticipated Mr. White's being at the meeting.
(The subject of
anticipated is Bob, but the subject of being
is
Mr. White; Mr. White is changed to its possessive form.)

Admissions requirements include his passing a difficult test.
(The subject of
include is admissions requirements,
but the subject of
passing is he; he is changed to its
possessive form.)

She enjoys your singing.
(
She is the subject of enjoys, but you is the subject of
singing; you is changed to its possessive form.)

 

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Special Notes:

1.   A possessive form is used for the subject of
gerunds because the subject acts, grammatically,
as a
modifier of the gerund.
     
2.   In speaking and casual writing, the subjects of
gerunds are often not made possessive, and when
pronouns are used, object pronouns are often used
instead of possessive ones:


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