I have used these kinds of sentences in talking and writing for so long without really knowing the grammar behind them:

This resulted in my getting late

It's unfortunate that even after his trying to convince her, she didn't agree

He couldn't resist himself despite my warning him


2 Answers 2


In your examples, the -ing forms are seen as nouns requiring possessive determiners, such as my or his. They can, however, also be seen as non-finite verbs, requiring the accusative forms of personal pronouns, such as me or him.

The choice depends on the emphasis which the speaker or writer wants to give. The ‘Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English’ explains that:

. . . when the possessive alternative is used, it focuses attention on the action described in the –ing clause. In contrast [the non-possessive] form puts more emphasis on the person doing the action.

‘The Cambridge Guide to English Usage’ makes the additional point that:

The choice of the possessive my [for example] makes the sentence rather formal, while the use of the object pronoun me is acceptable in most everyday kinds of writing.


Please read up on the wonderful realm of participles.

Participles - turning a verb into an entity or entity descriptor.

Examples of participles you are already familiar with

  • painting, from the verb paint. e.g.
    • I wish to buy this painting.
  • building
    • Are you contributing to the school building fund?
    • Before coming to New York, I had never seen such density of high-rise buildings.
  • running

    • We plan to contribute substantially to her running (in the marathon).
    • We plan to contribute significantly to her painting.
  • painted

    • their painted faces adorned the football stadium
  • convicted
    • the convicted should not be allowed to hold office

Just think of it this way, if you would accept painting or building as participles, then you could accept any participle.

  • My running late to the office could cost me my job.
  • I cannot tolerate his smoking (in the office).
  • I cannot tolerate his painting.

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