Can we say:

His mother forbade his going out at midnight.

In some countries, women's wearing tiny skirts is totally forbidden!

But I don't mind (my) smoking here. here can we add "my"?

Somebody told me forbid+act so we can't say like that is that true?

Thanks very much!

  • Include in your question the research you’ve done. Questions which lack results of research may be closed. (more)
    – MetaEd
    Aug 5, 2016 at 21:19
  • It's different sir. Here I just want to talk about these sentences, the logical subject is necessary or not. Somebody told me forbide+act so we can't say like that
    – moyeea
    Aug 5, 2016 at 21:20
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    – MetaEd
    Aug 5, 2016 at 21:21
  • You can delete the original question. Because I didn't get any answer... This one is simplified, just this expression
    – moyeea
    Aug 5, 2016 at 21:22
  • I have no idea what "forbid+act" is supposed to mean. As to the subjects of gerunds, they can be either possessive (his smoking) or objective (him smoking). They're deletable in all of your examples -- his mother forbade going out, wearing tiny skirts is forbidden, (both indefinite subjects) and I don't mind smoking here (with A-Equi). Gerund subjects are not, however, allowed in the last example. Equi is a deletion rule, and it applies when its conditions are met, as they are in the last example. Aug 5, 2016 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


Yes, we can; it's very nice style, too.

Source: I, who write and read a lot of good English

P.S. You can add "my" to that sentence but it sounds a bit contrived. Might sound less so with "my own."

  • Thanks very much for your help!But my grammar book told me...forbade should be followed by an act(women's wearing skirts is a fact not an act..That really confused me)And there is a defference between these two sentences: To do your task is remembered. Doing your task is remembered Am I right?
    – moyeea
    Aug 5, 2016 at 21:52
  • @moyeea I think that since the "women's" in "women's wearing skirts" is subordinate to "wearing skirts" (and can therefore be elided), "women's wearing skirts" still counts as an act. As for your second question--the question is very good but the example is bad; I would use "smoking inside is forbidden"/"to smoke inside is forbidden" (or even "rather than go to the store, [...]"/"rather than going to the store, [...]"--it's very subtle; I think native English speakers use them mostly interchangeably, although the gerund in -ing is more common. I know I've seen rules discussing their usage +
    – SAH
    Aug 5, 2016 at 22:08
  • [...] (you might Google "use of gerund vs. infinitive" or similar) but I don't know exactly what these are, and there might be some disagreement about them even among grammar authorities. (I do know that parallelism is preferred, i.e.: "Rather than go to the store, he decided to go home" is better than "Rather than going to the store, he decided to go home".) In any case, it seems to me one can speak a very high level of English without worrying much about this distinction.
    – SAH
    Aug 5, 2016 at 22:12
  • Thanks very much for your help! But can we say : Shouting loudly is a good activity to release yourself ! This one is Ok?
    – moyeea
    Aug 5, 2016 at 22:57
  • Throw away your grammar book. It's lying to you. What kind of complement a verb takes is not determined by the semantics of the complement but by the nature of the verb. In fact, forbid takes a B-Equi infinitive complement much more often than a gerund. They forbade him to film on their property Aug 5, 2016 at 23:31

A gerund e.g wearing (of skirts) is a noun, and they behave more or less in the same way as other nouns. E.g. they can be qualified by adjectives, possessive pronouns etc.

David Beckham's wearing of a sarong was unusual for a footballer, and some felt that it reflected his being comfortably in touch with female as well as male characteristics in his personality.

  • Wearing of a sarong is a noun, and not a gerund. A gerund would have a direct object (no of). And real gerunds can be modified by adverbs, not adjectives. Wearing a sarong gracefully is a difficult skill for a footballer to master. Aug 5, 2016 at 22:50
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    Thanks very much for your help! But can we say : Shouting loudly is a good activity to release yourself ! ?This sentence makes sense?
    – moyeea
    Aug 5, 2016 at 22:59
  • 1
    @JohnLawler Interesting! Had I simply missed out the of - would that have made wearing into a gerund? I think I see your point about adverbs. I could say Frequent wearing of a sarong is not recommended, but Frequently wearing a sarong he was the toast of all the ladies at the club.
    – WS2
    Aug 5, 2016 at 23:25
  • The frequent wearing of a sarong ... _ = noun ~ _Frequently wearing a sarong ... = verb. This is apparent from the contrast between "frequent" (adjective) and "frequently" (adverb) and between of a sarong (PP) and a sarong (NP - object)
    – BillJ
    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:58
  • Thanks very much about the defination. But how to say the next:I spent three days on horse-riding or I spent three days in horse-riding?(horse-riding is a noun right?)
    – moyeea
    Aug 6, 2016 at 8:04

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