According to 'Longman Advanced Learners' Grammar (page 164), 'lf the object of a preposition is a verb, it must be an -ing form: Preposition X She succeeded in win the race. (wrong) She succeeded in winning the race. (correct) The -ing form can have its own subject. This is a noun phrase or an object pronoun: I'm looking forward to my wife returning. Dad insisted on usapologising. ln formal Englishwe can use possessives rather than nouns or pronouns (26.1A,
27 .1A): The judge granted bail as she felt there was no risk of the defendant's absconding. The detective insisted on our leaving the crime scene.
However, in 'Oxford Guide to English Grammar',
1 A gerund clause can be just a gerund on its own, or there can be an object or adverbial after it. No one likes washing the car. Going on holiday always makes me feel uneasy.
NOTE a For letter-writing, sky-diving, • 283(3). b An adverb can sometimes come before the gerund rather than after it. We didn't want to risk completely spoiling the evening.
2 A subject can come before the gerund. We rely on our neighbours watering the plants while we're away. I dislike people asking me personal questions.
The subject can be possessive, especially when it is a personal pronoun or a name. It's a bit inconvenient you/your coming in late. Do you mind me/my sitting here? I'm fed up with Sarah/Sarah's laughing at my accent. The possessive is more formal, and it is less usual in everyday speech.
But we are more likely to use a possessive at the beginning of a sentence. Your coming in late is a bit inconvenient. Sarah's laughing at my accent is getting on my nerves.
And in 'A comprehensive Grammar of the English Language',
(D) Correspondingly, for [B9], a subject pronoun in the objective case can often be replaced, in formal style, by a possessive pronoun (cf 14.6): He doesn't like me/my coming often.
Would you kindly explain the structure of this sentence
( So, I decided to follow them without them seeing me) ?
I mean the object pronoun ( them) followed by the gerund.
I expect it to be ( without their seeing me)
Hi, Ahmed towab—Both constructions are grammatically correct, as you can hopefully tell from Ayman's spray of grammar-book quotations, some of which point out that the one with the possessive is the more formal of the two constructions.
In case you'd like to conduct technical research on the syntax of the two constructions, syntacticians label the construction with the possessive the Poss-ing construction and the construction with the accusative/objective-case pronoun the Acc-ing construction.
H. W. Fowler disliked the Acc-ing construction and consider it an error. (He called it the "fused participle.") But it is a commonly used construction, and there is nothing wrong with it. Moreover, the Acc-ing construction has special properties which the Possing construction does not have.
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