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This question already has an answer here:

Me getting a hangover is nothing like her getting a hangover.

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I'd rather contemplate you singing than him singing.

Is this grammatically correct?

marked as duplicate by tchrist, Drew, anongoodnurse, Misti, phenry Feb 9 '15 at 20:28

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  • This is a new take for me on the acc-ing issue. I've found 'Him getting drunk was fine, but ...' on the internet, and 'I'd rather contemplate you singing / your singing' are both well known and acceptable. I can't see why, if 'I don't like you getting a hangover' is acceptable, 'You getting a hangover is something I don't like' shouldn't be. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '15 at 19:44
  • In a formal register I would say My getting a hangover is nothing like her getting a hangover, and I'd rather contemplate your singing, than his singing. But in many everyday situations, especially if I was hung over at the time, talking to my wife across the breakfast table, I might well adopt the style you have presented. – WS2 Feb 7 '15 at 19:56
  • @tchrist But that doesn't address the acceptability of acc-ing structures as subject. At least there isn't the 'Me as part of a subject?' issue with 'She doesn't like me getting a hangover'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '15 at 19:57
  • AWS2 'I'd rather contemplate you singing' is at least as acceptable as 'I'd rather contemplate your singing' in any register. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '15 at 20:01
  • Indeed, "contemplate you singing" is contemplating the person and "contemplate your singing" is contemplating the singing. Similarly "Me getting a hangover" emphasises "me" and "My getting a hangover" emphasises the process of the hangover. – Andrew Leach Feb 7 '15 at 20:10
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I don't know about "correct", but they're grammatical. They're called accusative-ing or ACC-ing complements (by analogy to possessive-ing or POSS-ing complements, with which they seem to alternate).

  • Have you an authority showing an ACC-ing structure being used as the subject of a sentence? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '15 at 20:01
  • No, @EdwinAshworth, I don't have an authority (other than me). – Greg Lee Feb 7 '15 at 20:05
  • I think it's obvious that ACC-ing constructions as subjects are grammatical, but here I found something in print: ebooks.unibuc.ro/filologie/cornilescu/15.pdf. See item (46). – Greg Lee Feb 7 '15 at 20:33
  • Thank you: a valuable resource. Alexandra Cornilescu's '2.1. Comparing the frequency of various types of complements subjects, Close (1972) notices that Poss-ing and Acc-ing complements “seem to be less frequent as subjects, at least in the spoken language”. When a full ing complement is, nevertheless, used as a subject, Poss-ing appears to be the more natural construction. Acc-ing constructions in subject position are also possible, however. ... Acc-ing. e. Millie flirting with Christopher was one good thing.' [emphasis mine] is highly relevant. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '15 at 21:35

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