Reading other questions, a sentence from this question, A single word for "hurting of one's pride", caught my eyes.

You telling me that my question asking abilities are poor is very galling.

I guess this sentence has no problem, as there's no mention about this on the page, but I cannot be sure of what the subject of this sentence is. Since, you has a form of subject pronoun and the following clause, telling me..., works as a participle clause, it seems you would be the subject. However, if you is the subject, the verb should be are.

Furthermore, the sentence's meaning is that the fact that you're telling me such thing is galling, not that you are galling. So, I think you should be possessive your.

Which one should I use here: you or your?

  • For a second there i thought someone had done a very thourough edit on my post. Then i saw you just mentioned it. But I think Luke is right, I will change the title to please the grammar sticklers out there:) – laurisvr May 19 '15 at 14:58

The subject is the noun phrase:

You telling me that my question asking abilities are poor

Where the crucial noun is the gerund telling.

Some grammar sticklers would say that for this to be correct it would have to read Your telling...

  • I'm not the most hidebound of sticklers, but I think that "Your telling me..." would feel a bit more natural. – recognizer May 19 '15 at 16:30
  • Also, If this answer doesn't quite make sense to the asker, I would also note that "Your telling me..." can be replaced with other noun phrases, such as "Your statement that my question asking abilities are poor" or "Your criticism of my question asking abilities". When it's rewritten with a word that's not a gerund, it's hopefully quite clear which noun is the subject, as you've located it. – recognizer May 19 '15 at 16:31
  • In that sentence, telling is a verb, not a noun. Gerunds are verbs that head clauses that act as nouns; but they're not nouns themselves. Nouns, for instance, can't take direct and indirect objects like telling does; but verbs can. – John Lawler May 19 '15 at 16:47
  • There's no reason why your has to be used as subject of a gerund clause, btw; POSS-ing , which produces your telling, is indeed one of the two gerund complementizers of English; the other one is ACC-ing, which produces you telling instead. Both are correct; there is no grammatical difference, and like the for..to complementizer for infinitives, or the then complementizer for if..then constructions, there is a vast amount of optional variation and deletion. Executive summary: The possessive is no longer required; it's optional. – John Lawler May 19 '15 at 16:51
  • @JohnLawler I see that you telling.. is also grammatically correct in the sense that you is accusative. But, can accusatives be subjects? I mean, accusatives--as far as I'm aware--aren't they kind of objectives? Isn't it wrong for objects to be subjects? – hjjg200 May 20 '15 at 12:13

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