Which is correct, and why?

some days we went on adventures — him maneuvering our scooter, me resting my chin …


some days we went on adventures — he maneuvering our scooter, I resting my chin …

  • 2
    both are acceptable if you read them thus: [with] him ... [with] me ... / he [would be] ... I [would be] ... – Leon Conrad Feb 24 '14 at 21:36
  • What @Leon said. But certainly in this specific context, I would prefer the first version (the second sounds a bit "stilted"). "We travelled all night - him driving, me sleeping". I can find that on the Net, but not the alternative version. – FumbleFingers Feb 25 '14 at 0:40

They are examples of absolute constructions:

Absolute construction From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

In linguistics, an absolute construction is a grammatical construction standing apart from a normal or usual syntactical relation with other words or sentence elements. It can be a non-finite clause that is subordinate in form and modifies an entire sentence, an adjective or possessive pronoun standing alone without a modified substantive, or a transitive verb when its object is implied but not stated. The term absolute derives from Latin absolūtum, meaning "loosened from" or "separated" ...

Example Usages:

Being a word, phrase, or construction that is isolated syntactically from the rest of a sentence:

“this being the case, let us go”

"The referee having finally arrived, the game began....

More obviously related is

"The game began,/– the referee having finally arrived."

Usually, the noun group before the -ing form does not inflect for case, but this rare use of inflecting pronouns poses a problem. I'd agree with Leon that it's hard to make a decision between nominative and accusative, with the absolute construction being 'self-contained' and almost certainly elliptical. Informality would argue against using the nominative pronouns here, but then informality would argue against using either alternative:

some days we went on adventures – he would manoeuvre our scooter while I rested my chin ...

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