(..) those who stand to profit from our working harder,

I've noticed this pattern very often, but I don't know how or when to use it. The following

(...) those who stand to profit from us working harder,

would be right as well, right? Is there a difference in meaning? Or in context of use maybe? Thanks in advance!

For reference, the sentence is taken from the fourth paragraph from the end in this article.

  • 1
    Context of use it is: the preference for possessive our over objective us with the gerund working, for specifying who is doing this working, is characteristic of formal register. Dec 22, 2016 at 14:37
  • @BrianDonovan okay, so they mean the same but our is more formal? Thanks a lot! That's the kind of stuff they don't teach you in high school English
    – Nico
    Dec 22, 2016 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


As @BrianDonovan notes in their comment, this comes down to the context in which it is used:

"the preference for possessive our over objective us with the gerund working, for specifying who is doing this working, is characteristic of formal register."

  • Isn't it site policy to convert comments to answers when one thinks that that's what they should be using Community wikis rather than as personal answers piggybacking on others' submissions? In this case, I'll be back to downvote an answer to a well-known multi-duplicate (which shouldn't be 'answered') unless this is deleted. Mar 1, 2020 at 19:35
  • @Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica I downvoted on the basis that copying and pasting others' comments is a cheap way to get awards. All you need do is vote up Brian Donovan's answer.
    – Greybeard
    Mar 1, 2020 at 20:11
  • @EdwinAshworth perhaps you might get down from your pulpit and consider that mine was an innocent mistake. I've been quietly cleaning up the many hundreds of unanswered low-quality questions that are over 3 years old but avoided being auto-deleted after the first 12 months because someone happened to give them a single upvote. They linger unproductively in our library. If they have one comment or less, I downvote them and they get auto-deleted within 10 days. If they have 2 comments, even a zero score isn't enough for auto-delete to work, so I VTC many of these, but I don't want to flood... Mar 2, 2020 at 7:52
  • ...our review queues, so many of them I DV and leave for a later clean-up. And sometimes I find a question that seems interesting, and I upvote it and star it for me to come back to and write up a quality answer. A small number of questions had comments that constituted a reasonable answer, so on the weekend I decided to create a quick answer to a few of them. To be honest, if this is frowned upon and the answers DV'd then I will simply delete those answers and go back to my old approach, which was to eliminate most questions without attempting to rescue the better ones. To you & @Greybeard... Mar 2, 2020 at 7:59
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth your last point ["I've flagged comments I've thought worth preserving for moderators to decide whether to convert to wikis. Takes less time than copy-and-paste"] offers an excellent way forward. Thank you. Mar 2, 2020 at 22:16

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