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I'm currently studying to pass the TOEFL test with a high score, but I have encountered a sentence in an app that I fail to see why it is correct: "The committee members resented the president's not informing them of the meeting." Can someone explain to me how the mentioned sentence works?

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    Hello, gishki. This question is a possible duplicate of When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner?. // You may wish to learn that 'I have encountered a sentence in an app that I fail to see why it is correct' is incorrect. It's difficult to rephrase; I'd use 'I have come across/encountered a sentence in an app that is giving me concern; I fail to see why it is correct'. You could look up ["Ross constraint" + violation].... – Edwin Ashworth Jul 14 '19 at 10:40
  • Some might insist on a look at "misplaced modifiers" as well. They might insist on 'In an app, I have come across/encountered a sentence that is giving me concern; I fail to see why it is correct'. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 14 '19 at 10:45
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The title of your question refers only to the "'s" in the sentence, so I am going to explain this.

This is a common genitive. So, the president's is the genitive (possessive) to the gerund construction not informing them. The question is "Whose not informing them?", and the answer is "the president's". The confusing part may be the word not, but just think of dropping it:

The committee members resented the president's informing them of the meeting.

The construction not informing them is a gerund, that is a construction derived from a verb (to inform) that is used as subject or object, as in:

Sailing is fun. (subject position)

I enjoy singing. (object position)

The original sentence (which has the gerund in object position) could be rephrased in a subclause (taking care of the tense then):

The commitee member resented that the president had not informed them of the meeting.

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    I think this answer might benefit from including (and explaining) the word gerund somewhere. – Andrew Leach Jul 14 '19 at 9:59
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    This is all correct, but it somehow misses the crux of the confusion, namely that the subject of a gerund is (often, though not always) in the possessive. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 14 '19 at 11:10
  • I expanded the answer at the beginning to say inother words what I wrote beforehand, hope this makes it clear. – rexkogitans Jul 15 '19 at 5:57

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