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Q&A

Possessive vs accusative case for nominalized clauses

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Consider the following sentences:

  1. "She was against his joining the team."
  2. "She was against his joining of the team."
  3. "She was against him joining the team."

Instinctively, the first just sounds wrong to me. Thinking deeper about it though, I can't tell why it sounds wrong to me; "joining the team" should be able to act as an entire noun-phrase, and thus be able to be modified by a possessive pronoun.

The second one sounds acceptable to me though, as I have no problem nominalizing just "joining" and then modifying it with "of the team".

On the other hand, I have also been told that the third is ungrammatical, because in "him joining the team", him is the grammatical subject of the phrase, and as such should not be in the accusative case.

I'm curious to know whether there is a regular split, for instance whether one would be more acceptable in British English compared to American English, or whether there is another cause for this difference in opinion.

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Before I attempt an answer, have you read [When **is** a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessi... (1 comment)

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