I and my friend were discussing about which of the followings being correct.

"I can't imagine you using a dictionary"

"I can't imagine your using a dictionary"

I think that the latter is correct. My argument is that I consider "using" a gerund, and treat the whole gerund phrase as a noun.

What do you think about this case? Any comment would be greatly appriciated. Thank you.

  • 2
    Both of these are correct.
    – GEdgar
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:34
  • 3
    They are both okay. The second sounds better to traditional folks, more formal.
    – Xanne
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:42
  • 1
    They are the two ways that gerund complementizers can work. The one with the possessive form is called the POSS_-ing_ gerund complementizer, and the one with the ordinary form is called the ACC_-ing_ gerund complementizer. As noted, they're both correct. People seem to always think that there is only one correct construction for everything. That's nonsense and we see way too much of it here. Jun 18, 2020 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


They are both correct.

  1. I can't imagine you using a dictionary

This means that I cannot imagine you in a scenario where you are using a dictionary.

  1. I can't imagine your using a dictionary

This means I can't imagine the use of a dictionary when it is being done by you.

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