Consider the following sentence:

"Even during the simple occurrence of him and me standing next to each other makes me notice that he's taller than me."

Is him and me correct? Should it be he and I?

  • 2
    That's of form "Even during X makes me notice Y", which does not make sense. Leave out during. As Barrie notes in his answer, the sentence is unlikely to occur in normal speech of native speakers. That's because it's clumsy and roundabout. One might instead say "Just standing next to him makes me notice he's taller than me", or "When I meet him, I notice he's taller than me", or a thousand other variations better than the original. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 10 '12 at 21:21
  • Leave out during. Then it's fine. During starts a prepositional phrase, which can't be a subject. But its object can. – John Lawler Jul 10 '12 at 22:30

The choice is not between him and me and he and I, but between him and me and his and my. But in any case, this sounds like a fabricated sentence unlikely to occur in the normal speech of native speakers. Apart from anything else, there's something wrong with the syntax. It looks as if you want the simple occurrence to be the subject of the sentence. If so, you can't have during there.

  • Completely agree on all counts. (Conjunctions of pronouns have become an anarchic area of grammar.) – Daniel Harbour Jul 10 '12 at 22:19
  • I went around and around on this. It appears to me that it is the word "occurrence" which favors using the possessive. Because "standing" is the occurrence, and "us" cannot modify "standing." But if it were couched as a "sight" then it would be ok. "She could not stand the sight of us standing together" because in that case "we" are the sight, and "standing together" modifies "us". I am not entirely sure about this though. Thoughts? – Tolerance72 Jul 11 '12 at 3:15
  • @Tolerance72: ‘She could not stand the sight of us standing together’ better illustrates the question the OP may be asking. I don’t think many would argue for ‘we standing together’. ‘Us standing together’ foregrounds the fact that it’s ‘us’ doing it. ‘Our standing together would foreground the act of standing together itself. – Barrie England Jul 11 '12 at 6:11

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