Re: They vs. he/she
- --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, "Valerie Talacko" <valerie@...> wrote:
> I agree with him, although I think there is definitely a role forthe possessive + gerund, since in Melvyn's example the meaning is
subtly different from 'me opening.' (MichaelBulley makes the same
point in one of the comments below that article).
The object and the possessive are both acceptable, but they mean
different things. "I don't like his washing the windows" means you'd
rather he didn't wash the windows or, perhaps, that you don't like his
style of washing the windows. "I don't like him washing the windows"
means that, when he washes the windows, you don't like him (it makes
him look silly, maybe).
Excuse me, do you mind me opening the window?
Well, it does make you look rather silly and gauche, actually. Not a
pretty sight, to be honest.
Ah, but do you mind my opening the window?
Oh, not at all. It is rather stuffy in here.
It would be a neat idea - if people were generally aware of such a
potential difference. :-) But is anybody? Why does this difference not
normally crop up in discussions of the issue?
I think that in most people's minds the difference in style outweighs
any such hypothetical differences in stress or meaning.
I used to get a good wigging at (what used to be) London University
(SSEES) for using fused participles. The great linguist Jespersen
famously championed them, but did that help me? Oh no. :-)