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I'm a native English speaker, and I noticed that I sometimes use accusative pronouns (him, her, me) to replace actors in certain clauses. I have a feeling this is prescriptively considered incorrect usage, but I want to be able to describe it.

"What does that have to do with me not coming to class?"

"I want to hear about them starting a new game."

"Him winning that contest has nothing to do with his family."

Maybe the prescriptively correct form is the possessive, and this is confusion based on "her" which is the same in both? Or maybe it is because when the clause comes second, the pronoun makes sense as an object of the larger sentence? But that doesn't apply for the third sentence as much unless you flip it around:

"His family has nothing to do with him winning that contest."

How do you describe what is happening here? Why does it happen? Is it considered "incorrect", and if so, how widely? (I have the intuitive sense not to write it in an essay, but it comes so easily out of my mouth...)

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    In all your examples, the accusative case pronoun can be replaced by a genitive case one.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 10:54
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    Right. LInguists speak of complementizers that mark different constructions, like the to that appears before infinitives. Subordinate clauses with -ing verbs (gerunds or present participles) have two complementizers: (a) the POSS-ing complementizer, which marks the subject in the possessive: His/Bill's leaving early made us nervous, and (b) the ACC-ing complementizer, which uses the "accusative" (me, him, them, us): Him/Bill leaving early made us nervous. Both are correct; English is changing and there are almost always several ways to say anything. Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 19:31

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