Which of the following is (more) correct or are they both acceptable?

I apologise for your receiving emails.


I apologise for you receiving emails.

I think I read somewhere (but can't find the reference) that the first one is more correct.

  • 1
    Neither makes any sense unless the sentence continues with e.g. "... receiving spam e-mails apparently sent by me" or "... receiving emails from me after asking to be removed from my mailing list." Else, why are you apologising that I receive e-mails?!
    – TrevorD
    Aug 16, 2013 at 12:05
  • Also related: english.stackexchange.com/q/81525/8019 Aug 16, 2013 at 12:13
  • Thanks @TimLymington and @RegDwigh; I had a feeling there was already a question about this (but just didn't know what keywords to search).
    – Appulus
    Aug 16, 2013 at 13:54
  • 1
    To me, both versions turn the apology on its head. Why should I apologize for something you are doing? Why not just say, "I apologize for emailing you" or "I apologize for any inconvenience my email caused you"?
    – Jeff Cohan
    Aug 17, 2013 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


As a native english speaker I would say the second one sounds more correct, because in the first case I feel it would have to be "I apologise for your reception of emails." Since your is possessive there would have to be a noun following.

  • But there is a noun following.
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 16, 2013 at 12:04

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