Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I understanding that the following sentence is reasonably good for expressing the given idea.

(1.) This method is likely to be biased since this requires participants to bring their own laptops.

However, I was curious to know if the following is correct (given that it sounds better at least to me).

(2.) This method is likely to be biased since this requires participants' bringing their own laptops.

Thank you for your help.

share|improve this question
2  
This has been discussed at length at When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive pronoun. Granted, this question here is about the case of a noun (participants vs. participants') rather than that of a pronoun (him vs. his), but really, it's the same question. (And in speech it doesn't even matter at all since participants and participants' are pronounced exactly the same, as opposed to him vs. his.) –  RegDwigнt May 30 '12 at 17:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This can be seen in two ways. To see how, substitute their for participants’, and then them for participants. Use the first if you want to emphasise the act of bringing and the second if you want to emphasise that it is they who are doing it.

share|improve this answer

Your first version is perfectly grammatical.

Regarding the second version, it is also grammatical, and you can arguably write it with or without the apostrophe.

There are generally (at least) two possible gerundive constructions:

(a) Him participating is important.

(b) His participating is important.

To me, version (b) is simply an unnatural hypercorrection whereas version (a) is the version that speakers would naturally use prior to indoctrination with prescriptivist fallacy. However, if you would naturally use version (b)-- or if you believe in the prescriptivist fallacy that dictates that you "should" use version (b)-- then that would be an argument for putting the apostrophe.

share|improve this answer

No apostrophe is need in the second case. The possessive is their.

share|improve this answer
    
"participants'" refers to the gerund "bringing", though, Henry. –  JeffSahol May 30 '12 at 17:34
1  
OK - but in the case with pronouns, both versions seem to be used, though personally I would use the accusative. I would see participants' bringing as likely to make me stop and think rather than continue reading. –  Henry May 30 '12 at 17:40

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.