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    English missing

    "us" oder "our" (+ "-ing"-Form) ?

    Subject

    "us" oder "our" (+ "-ing"-Form) ?

    Sources
    Darf ich fragen, ob XY sich schon dazu geäußert hat, was er davon hält, wenn wir uns mit ABC treffen würden?

    May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about us/our meeting with ABC?
    Comment
    Mit dieser Konstruktion komme ich immer nicht ganz klar. Ist es hier nun "us" oder "our"?

    Bei "our" würde ich "meeting" eher im Sinne eines Hauptwortes hören, also "unser Treffen".

    Für Euren Rat wäre ich dankbar!
    AuthorAnna C. (474640) 18 Jan 09, 17:32
    Suggestionour meeting
    Comment
    Da hast Du recht, us meeting = Pronomen + Gerundiumour meeting = Pronomen + SubstantivVorsicht bei der Verwedung von 'yet': wird es verwendet zeigt es an, dass eine Handlung noch nicht abgeschlossen ist. Daher sollte die Verbform im Perfekt stehen (damit eine zeitliche Verbindung zur Gegenwart besteht)
    #1Authorlia18 Jan 09, 17:39
    Comment
    In BrE one would probably meet XYZ, not meet with XYZ , so it would not be ambiguous (our meeting with XYZ; us meeting XYZ).

    Another point is that grammarians who talked about gerunds, rather than participle clauses, sometimes claimed that the possessive form should be used; so some people may still regard the non-possessive form as incorrect.
    #2AuthorMikeE (236602) 18 Jan 09, 17:54
    Comment
    Danke Euch beiden!

    Ach ja, das Gerundium! Lang, lang ist's her...
    Gut, dann wäre "us meeting" also nicht so falsch, wie es für unsere deutschen Ohren immer im ersten Moment klingt.

    @ MikeE: Now of course it would be interesting to know if this really is one of these famous AE/BE things, or if the more ambiguous "meeting with XYZ" is just plain wrong!

    I do need it for AE - so if there are any AE native speakers around, I'd be glad to have your opinion too!
    #3AuthorAnna C. (474640) 18 Jan 09, 18:10
    SuggestionMay I ask if XY has already given his opinion about us meeting ABC
    Comment
    'our meeting' = possessive pronoun + noun - however, the desired opinion concerns the action of meeting ABC - therefore 'us meeting' is correct - I hope that makes sense.
    #4AuthorRodney18 Jan 09, 18:28
    SuggestionTraditional rule
    Sources
    The traditional rule is that "the gerund is governed by the possessive", that is, "our meeting". But now it is more common to us the objective pronoun, "us meeting" in all but the most formal writing.
    #5AuthorRobNYNY18 Jan 09, 18:31
    Comment
    Thanks to the two of you, too!

    O.k., I'll stick with "us meeting" then. I do want it to sound like an action, not like a noun. And even if "our meeting" can apparently be both, it would at least remain ambiguous.
    #6AuthorAnna C. (474640) 18 Jan 09, 19:11
    Comment
    Although "us meeting" is becoming ever more common, it remains wrong. It doesn't have to be very formal writing to say "our meeting." Good writers (as evidenced by the above comments) still appreciate the difference between "our meeting" and "us meeting."

    It would recommend "our meeting" in this instance since it fits in gracefully and does not sound forced. That way you're covered for those readers who know and appreciate the difference. It will make you appear to be one of the few who can still write good English.
    #7AuthorBob C. (254583) 18 Jan 09, 19:34
    Comment
    Oh and: it makes no difference whether you're writing American, British, Australian, or South African English. "Us meeting" is still grammatically incorrect.

    Just to explain briefly: if you say "his opinion about us meeting," you make "us" the object of the preposition, which is not what you mean (you do not mean that XY gave his opinion about us), and meeting hangs out there without any grammatical relationship to the rest of the sentence.

    What you mean is that he gave his opinion about the fact that we met with ABC. If you say "about our meeting with ABC" you avoid this problem.
    #8AuthorBob C. (254583) 18 Jan 09, 19:45
    Comment
    Thanks, Bob!
    The e-mail this was for is gone now - apparently with some wrong English now... but I'll be glad to learn more for the next time!

    Just to explain the context as given above once more:
    "What you mean is that he gave his opinion about the fact that we met with ABC."
    No, what I mean is his opinion about the question if we SHOULD meet (with) ABC.
    I am not sure if this makes any difference for your point, but what I am trying to ask is if he gave/has (already, in the past) given his opinion about something we possibly ought to do in the future.
    #9AuthorAnna C. (474640) 18 Jan 09, 20:00
    Comment
    Belatedly, I'm one of the traditionalists who still prefers the possessive with the gerund when it doesn't make the rest of the sentence too awkward. I don't see any reason to avoid 'our' here, though 'us' also wouldn't bother me terribly.

    In AE, 'meet' is to be introduced and shake hands for the first time, or to arrive at the same place at the same time. 'Meet with' is for a discussion, an intentional longer meeting, not just a brief encounter. So if you're meeting someone for the first time, and/or at a prearranged location, 'meet' is fine; if you're doing it for long enough to sit down and talk for a while, so that you can think of it as a kind of meeting, then 'meet with' might be better. Especially if it's some overlap of all of that, either should be fine. (-:
    #10Authorhm -- us (236141) 18 Jan 09, 20:54
    Comment
    Anna, ja richtig; habe nicht genau aufgepasst. Aber es laeuft auf dasselbe hinaus:

    "May I ask whether XY has given his opinion yet about our meeting with ABC?"

    (Es wuerde zu einem komplizierteren Satz fuehren, wenn wir das Englische im Konjunktiv entwerfen wuerden.)

    Nebenbei: der Satz, so wie er steht, ist im Englisch zweideutig, denn es koennte auch bedeuten: "was er von unserem (schon geschehenen) Treffen haelt." Hoffentlich wird's in Deinem Kontext klar sein.
    #11AuthorBob C. (254583) 18 Jan 09, 23:08
    Comment
    Yes, okay, that ambiguity is probably a reason to avoid 'our meeting.' So I feel more kindly toward 'us.' But you could also solve it with our possibly meeting with, the possibility of our meeting with, our being able to meet with, etc.
    #12Authorhm -- us (236141) 18 Jan 09, 23:13
    Comment
    Thanks, Bob C. and hm -- us, for your advice!

    So I should have used "with" after all... well, next time!

    And "us" may not have been all that wrong to avoid the ambiguity.
    @Bob: Aus dem Grund hatte ich ja bei "our meeting" meine Zweifel, weil es eben mehr nach Hauptwort als nach Verb (Gerundium) klingt. Und dann wäre es wirklich nicht eindeutig, sondern könnte leicht aufgefaßt werden wie "was er von unserem Treffen mit ABC hält" - und es wäre völlig offen, ob dieses Treffen in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart oder Zukunft liegt.
    #13AuthorAnna C. (474640) 18 Jan 09, 23:25
    Comment
    Though I don't envisage Bob's and some other traditionalists' agreeing with me, the possessive is not required by English grammar. Some people would maintain that "us meeting" is incorrect. That does not make it so. But one should be aware of this opinion. Sometimes the possessive may be preferable for stylistic reasons, but there is often a difference in meaning which should be preserved, and there are cases where the possessive should be rejected.

    Greenbaum (The Oxford English Grammar):
    "The verb in a non-finite clause may take any of four non-finite forms and the clause may be with or without a subject:
    -ing participle clause with subject . . .
    I don't see a French writer voluntarily writing in English . . ."

    Garner suggests the "modern" rule "When the -ing participle has the force of a noun, it preferably takes a possessive subject, especially in formal contexts. But when the -ing participle has the force of a verb, a non-possessive subject is acceptable, especially in informal contexts."

    Based on some examples given by Garner, what should one make of "He was responsible for the luggage's having been lost.", She couldn't accept nothing's being done about the problem.", "He regretted some of them's being left out in the rain."?

    Fowler did not like the construction, but shouldn't we object to a grammarian who has not even studied modern linguistics's obliging us to use a possessive because of an invented rule?
    >(;-)
    #14AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 00:24
    Comment
    OOOT:

    I can't speak for Garner, but somehow I doubt he would see the point in building up elaborate straw men only for the pleasure of tearing them down. If linguistics drives you to dredge up the most extreme boundary cases, which by definition are not what most people ever need to worry about, isn't that just as unrealistic a guide to good prose as clinging to a style rule as though it were an absolute?

    Isn't the whole point about style that you have to learn the rules and then use your own judgment? That's all I've said every time you've belabored this topic: that if you can use the possessive without awkwardness -- if all else is equal -- then the possessive is usually better. That turned out not to be the case in Anna's sentence, so the object case is okay, or she can reword it.

    And speaking of rewording ...

    He was responsible for the loss of the luggage. / It was his fault that the luggage was lost.
    She couldn't accept that nothing was being done about the problem.
    He regretted that some of them had been left out in the rain.


    I can't imagine Garner disagreeing with that. (-;

    #15Authorhm -- us (236141) 19 Jan 09, 02:31
    Comment
    Anna: leider ist "us" grammatikalisch falsch. Wie schon gesagt, da die meisten Leute den guten Stil weder kennen noch ueben, draengt sich "us" immer mehr nach vorn. Bis jetzt hat es sich aber nicht als korrekt etabliert.

    Ohne Deinen ganzen Text zu lesen koennen wir nicht beurteilen, ob "our meeting" in Deinem Zusammenhang zweideutig ist oder nicht. Allgemein (fuer sich alleine) kann man's zwar so oder so lesen; aber in Deinem Mail ist es wahrscheinlich eindeutig, was Du meinst.

    Fowler and other linguistic scientists advance solid logical reasoning for warning against the fused participle. I pointed to the essence of it in #8 (though probably not very well). "Us meeting" is ungrammatical because it cannot be parsed: it has no grammatical construction. That, after all, is hat "grammatical" means in large part.
    #16AuthorBob C. (254583) 19 Jan 09, 02:33
    Comment
    Incidentally, regarding the examples in #14:

    "I don't see a French writer voluntarily writing in English . . ." is not the same situation. Pared down, "I don't see a writer writing that" is not a fused participle. The object of the verb "see" is writer (not "writing"). ("A writer's writing" has a different meaning!)

    As for the remaining three examples, they are poor English on other counts:

    "He was responsible for the luggage's having been lost" should read "He was responsible for the loss of the luggage."

    "She couldn't accept nothing's being done about the problem" would be much better as "She could not accept that nothing was being done about the problem."

    "He regretted some of them's being left out in the rain" in the hands of a better writer would read "He regretted that some of them had been left out in the rain."

    I would say Garner's examples were tendentiously chosen.
    #17AuthorBob C. (254583) 19 Jan 09, 03:08
    Comment
    I don't disagree with arguments based on style (in both directions). I do disgree with blunt statements that something is incorrect and that it cannot be parsed, based on faulty and outdated rules.

    The so-called "strawmen" were provided so that the reader could grasp the more complex rule that is intuitively followed by native speakers and understand why Fowler's 1926 recommendation did not adequately explain that rule. Fowler may not have had the tools to correctly parse such constructions (or chosen not to use them) but we do now.

    Occasionally, Fowler did make recommendations based on his own ideas of what would be a godd thing. They were usually corrected in later editions of "Fowler's Modern English Usage".

    In Greenbaum's example, the object of "see" is not "writer" since it is not the writer that you cannot see (envisage) but the fact (or otherwise) of him writing something. In this example it is just possible (perversely) to interpret the -ing form as a present participle describing writer, but this is not possible in other examples (as I attempted to show by reductio ad absurdum), and it is not how Greenbaum understood it.

    I agree with hm -- us that it may be possible (and expedient) to use a less contentious construction, but that is no reason to claim that this construction is incorrect.

    #18AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 08:46
    Comment
    If you can parse "us meeting" on the basis of anything, ancient or modern, please do so. I would be particularly interested in "new tools."

    There is no problem with the sentence "I don't see a French writer voluntarily writing in English." "A French writer writing" is perhaps what they call the absolute construction, but it is closer to a noun and verb combination.

    In fact, "He was responsible for the luggage having been lost" is not an example of a fused participle either, and it should not be "corrected" to "luggage's." Again, it is not the same thing as "our meeting."

    This Garner guy seems really confused. Why don't you give me his first name and the title of his book. I'd like to check him out.

    #19AuthorBob C. (254583) 19 Jan 09, 12:29
    Comment
    #19 'If you can parse "us meeting" on the basis of anything, ancient or modern, please do so. '

    I would say "pronoun + -ing participle, but it really only makes sense in the context of a whole sentence. Since the whole sentence given in the query was rather complicated, I would use the example

    "I asked about us meeting X."

    I don't know what sort of notation you expect, but I will try to roughly indicate the parts of speech, the roles in the sentence and the embedding of other structures.

    Treating "ask about" as a prepositional verb and simplifying, this could yields something like

    Pronoun (Subject) + PrepositionalVerb (Verb) + Non-finite clause (PrepositionalObject)

    The non-finite clause is an ing-participle clause: Pronoun (Subject) + Ing-participle (Verb) + Noun (Object). The word order is the same as in finite clauses (S-V-O).

    Other forms of non-finite clauses could have no subject ("I asked about meeting X"); or we could have a bare infinitive ("I heard him start the car"). Or we could have a finite clause ("He recommended that she meet us"). I suppose "Infinitivsätze" in German are similar but more restricted.

    Consider "I heard him start the car.".
    This is a simple example of a non-finite clause. It is punctative (for want of a better word). I would be interested to know how you would parse it. I suppose one could try to interpret "him" as the object of "heard", but why would one do that?

    Also consider sentences like

    I heard a maiden singing in the valley below.
    I saw a maiden singing in the valley below.
    I saw a maiden signing in the valley below.
    I heard a maiden sitting on a bench.
    I saw her killed.

    What is it that I heard or saw?
    #20AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 21:12
    Comment
    #19 "I would be particularly interested in "new tools."

    The new analytical "tools" I was thinking about were things like generative grammars (including transformational grammar), including the idea of embedded sentences and recursive application of rules. Added to this is a scientific approach to linguistcs, getting further away from revealed truth and going in more for the idea of rules as hypotheses based on the linguist applying inductive logic to arrive at rules which can be tested against empirical evidence (in the same way as the natural scientist applies inductive logic to arrive at the "laws" of nature),

    #21AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 21:14
    Comment
    #19'In fact, "He was responsible for the luggage having been lost" is not an example of a fused participle either, and it should not be "corrected" to "luggage's." Again, it is not the same thing as "our meeting."'

    No, it is the same as "us meeting" (non-possesive noun or pronoun immediately followed by a "gerund"). I agree that it should not be corrected on syntactic grounds (like "us meeting")

    #22AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 21:14
    Comment
    #19 "This Garner guy seems really confused. Why don't you give me his first name and the title of his book. I'd like to check him out."

    Lest you think that Garner came up with those absurd English sentences, I should stress that they were the result of me applying the possessive rule as a reductio ad absurdum argument; Garner himself indicated that the possessive rule should not be applied in these examples.

    He actually wrote (in his article on FUSED PARTICIPLES):

    'For example there's typically no choice of construction when you're using nonpersonal nouns "he was responsible for the luggage having been lost", nonpersonal pronouns "she wouldn't accept nothing being done about the problem", and groups of pronouns "he regretted some of them being left out in the rain". '

    He also wrote:

    'The fused participle is said to lack a proper relationship to the preceding noun or pronoun. Yet no one [he was apparently wrong there] today doubts that Fowler overstated his case in calling fused participles "grammatically indefensible" and in never admitting an exception. The grammarians Otto Jespersen and George Curme have cited any number of historical examples and have illustrated the absolute necessity of the fused participle in some sentences (barring a complete rewrite) '.

    Perhaps he can convince you, though I suppose the chance of that happening is slight. >(:-)

    The book is "Garner's Modern American Usage: The authority on grammar, usage and style", by Bryan A. Gardner, 2nd ed., OUP 2003, ISBN 0-19-516191-2. I would recommend it, though William Safire is quoted as calling it "excellent", so I suppose it should be treated with some caution. (:-)
    #23AuthorMikeE (236602) 19 Jan 09, 21:18
    Comment
    I'm just not convinced that it's always possible to draw quite such a clear distinction between the person or thing in the process of doing something, and the action itself as a concept. In some individual cases, yes, in others, not so much.

    OOOT again @MikeE: Yeah, I usually find Safire a bit too crotchety (and much too right-wing) for my taste, but did you see his column this week on 'of'? I was kind of glad to see someone address that issue.
    #24Authorhm -- us (236141) 19 Jan 09, 23:28
    Comment
    I think it really boils down to my audience...

    If I'm talking ta my friends in the poolhall (Billiardzimmer), I'd say...

    We was thinkin' about us meetin' with da / the udder / other guys in da gang..

    If I'm talking to a group of English teachers / professors, I'd ONLY say...

    We were thinking about our meeting with the other members of the society.

    #25AuthorRobert U.S.19 Jan 09, 23:40
    Comment
    The grammar of "our meeting" in Anna's sentence is this:
    Anna could write "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about the meeting with ABC?"

    But she wishes to be more specific, so an adjective is required to modify "meeting." "Our" (as are all possessives) is an adjective, so it can be used: "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about our meeting with ABC?" "Us" is not an adjective, so it's use would be ungrammatical. "Us meeting" is grammatially gibberish, though it is used frequently.

    I believe this is Fowler's point, and it remains as true today as it was when he wrote it in the early 20th century. It is derived not from personal preference but from the logic of the language. I do not believe it can be refuted.
    #26AuthorBob C. (254583) 20 Jan 09, 05:16
    Comment
    @hm -- us

    No, I haven't read the article about "of" yet, though I am intrigued. I think the last article of his I read was recommending books for Christmas presents.

    I agree that it's not always easy (or even possible) to know which meaning was intended when the semantic difference is so small, but I would still see it as a syntactic ambiguity. I try to make the conscious mind aware of the different ways of parsing the sentence by examining examples like "I saw a maiden singing in the valley below." If "maiden" is the object and "singing . . ." is just a participial phrase qualifying the noun, we shouldn't get such a jolt when we read "saw" followed by "singing". In other cases, it is obvious that we are looking at a non-finite clause and any attempt to parse the noun as the object of the main clause qualified by an "adjectival" participial phrase is not viable.
    #27AuthorMikeE (236602) 20 Jan 09, 23:00
    Comment
    #26 @Bob C.

    I think I see the problem: we have a case of syntactical ambiguity.

    You wrote 'Anna could write "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about the meeting with ABC?" '
    This statement is unambiguous in AE and BE: "meeting" is equivalent to "Besprechung" or "Termin".
    "Meeting" is a noun preceded by a determiner ("the") and followed by a prepositional phrase. Being a noun, it does not have an object (or a subject).

    You wrote 'But she wishes to be more specific, so an adjective is required to modify "meeting." "Our" (as are all possessives) is an adjective, so it can be used: "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about our meeting with ABC?" "Us" is not an adjective, so it's use would be ungrammatical. '

    As you say, when "meeting" is used a noun (Termin, Besprechung), the determiner "the" can be replaced by the (possessive) determiner "our"; the rest stays the same.

    In BE there is no prepositional verb "to meet with", so "our meeting" is unambiguous and "meeting" is a noun.

    The water is somewhat muddied by the fact that there is an AE prepositional verb "to meet with"; so I would suggest continuing with BE usage (or AE usage for the first meeting,) i.e. without "with":

    "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about us/our meeting ABC?"

    This is what Anna was asking about: the form equivalent to what would require a finite clause in German ("wenn wir uns mit ABC treffen würden").

    "Meeting" is a form of the verb "meet" and has an object ("ABC"); and it cannot be used with a determiner like "the", i.e.
    * "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about the meeting ABC?"
    is not a valid utterance. This is completely different from the earlier usage of "meeting" as a noun.

    Though the determiner "the" is not permitted, you would use the determiner "our".

    A nominal-phrase slot in the main clause can, of course, be filled by a non-finite clause, in the same way that a "that" clause can be the object of the verb "think". This is perfectly normal English. The non-finite clause (like the German "Infinitivsatz") is not necessarily informal and is definitely not non-standard.
    #28AuthorMikeE (236602) 21 Jan 09, 00:02
    Comment
    Mike, I have no idea what you are talking about. "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about the meeting with ABC?" is perfectly normal and acceptable English by any standard.

    "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about meeting with ABC?" and "May I ask if XY gave his opinion yet about a meeting with ABC?" are as well.

    Also, it would be much simpler and clearer if you would call things by their right names (adjective, adverb, noun, participle, gerund, etc.).
    #29AuthorBob C. (254583) 21 Jan 09, 01:50
    Suggestionus meeting
    Comment
    "us meeting" koennte übersetzt "we are meeting". Wenn mann das als Verb benützen will ist nur "our meeting" grammatisch richtig

    #30AuthorJulian Lufthansa Melbourne21 Jan 09, 04:37
    Comment
    @Bob C.
    You wrote 'Mike, I have no idea what you are talking about. . . .
    Also, it would be much simpler and clearer if you would call things by their right names (adjective, adverb, noun, participle, gerund, etc.).'.

    I will try to be clearer and, where possible, use your terminology (though it is sometime incorrect, imprecise or misleading) and use examples.

    1.
    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that gerunds require adjectives because they are nouns.

    I would be interested to know how you would parse the following sentences:

    'Never meeting XYZ is the best way of avoiding recognition.'
    'Occasionally reading some elementary books on Linguistics may go a long way to greatly improving the success rate of one's attempts at correctly analysing English sentences.
    I am not interested in deliberately avoiding the problem by writing something completely different.

    I am particularly interested in the adverbs (never, occasionally, greatly, correctly) which appear to modify the gerunds and the direct objects of the gerunds (XYZ, some elementary books on Linguistics, English sentences, something completely different)

    2.
    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that gerunds require adjectives rather than nouns or pronouns) to designate the actor and that "our" is an adjective.

    Unlike nouns, gerunds (used in phrases like "meeting XYZ", "organizing a debate") cannot legitimately be qualified by adjectives. For instance, one can say "a large table" or " a fruitful meeting", but one cannot (may not, if you prefer) say "a fruitful meeting John Smith" or "the immediate organizing a meeting"). There are different rules for adjectives and determiners, and there are different rules for nouns and different types of non-finite clause).

    If "our" is an adjective it should not be used with a gerund (gerunds are modified by adverbs).

    So we have a verb form (a gerund) which is modified by an adverb and can have a direct object, but the subject (actor) is expressed not by a noun or pronoun but by an adjective. And this "is derived . . .from the logic of the language". Hmmm.

    #31AuthorMikeE (236602) 21 Jan 09, 20:41
    Comment
    Mike, first, I should not be short with you, and I will be more amicable from now on. This is a good discussion, and I appreciate your forebearance.

    I did not generalize. I said that Anna's gerund (meeting) requires an adjective (in this case the possessive pronoun) to make her meaning clear. I assume you agree.

    Also, I did not say anything about whether or not they can take other modifiers, such as adverbs. Of course I see nothing wrong with the sample sentences you provide under number 1.

    I did say that "our" is an adjective. All possessives are considered adjectives (John's book, our house, my mistake, etc.)

    I think I caused some confusion by referring to "meeting" in Anna's sentence as a gerund. Sorry about that. It's a participle, but in the sense she intends it, of course it is not used as a gerund.

    That, incidentally, is where the ambiguity arises: it can be read as a gerund or a participle, yielding two somewhat different meanings.

    However, if you construe it as a gerund, it still takes the modifier "our."

    But gerunds do take adjectives. Your own examples show that: "a fruitful meeting."
    #32AuthorBob C. (254583) 22 Jan 09, 02:15
    Comment
    Let us remember: Anna was looking for a translation of "Darf ich fragen, ob XY sich schon dazu geäußert hat, was er davon hält, wenn wir uns mit ABC treffen würden?", not for a translation of "Besprechung", "Treffen", or "Termin".

    @Bob C.
    You wrote' But gerunds do take adjectives. Your own examples show that: "a fruitful meeting." '

    My example does not show that.

    It was specifically given to illustrate one of several different (syntactic) uses of the word "meeting".

    1. It can be a noun like "debate".

    In this sense, you can have a long or fruitful debate or meeting.

    In this sense it cannot have an object or be modified by an adverb. You cannot say something like

    * "What do you think of our fruitful immediately meeting the other party.

    2. It can be a "present participle" used "adjectivally".
    With this particular verb I can't think of a particularly natural sounding example, but you could say "I saw them standing in the lobby, meeting after the conference.

    In this sense, you cannot substitute a noun like "debate. You cannot say
    * ""I saw them standing in the lobby, debate after the conference.

    3. It can be a part of various tenses of the verb meet in the progressive aspect.

    You can say
    They are meeting as we speak.

    In this sense, too, you cannot replace it with "debate", and you cannot qualify it with an adjective. You cannot say

    * They are debate as we speak" or
    * They are fruitful meeting as we speak.

    4. It can be used as a form of the verb "meet" referred to as a "gerund". This is what Anna was looking for.

    In this sense, it can have an object ( when used transitively) and be modified by an adverb.
    You can say "What do you think of meeting the other party immediately?". You cannot modify it with an adjective. You cannot replace it with "debate".

    You cannot say
    * "What do you think of debate the other party immediately?" or
    * "What do you think of fruitful meeting the other party immediately?

    I have tried to use your terminology, but as regards the term "adjective" I would note:
    though it may be adequate for some purposes to treat "our" as an adjective, it is a possessive determiner. Rules for determiners are not the same as those for adjectives.

    You can say "the fruitful meeting", or "a more fruitful meeting" but you cannot say
    * "the our meeting" or
    * "a more our meeting".

    Even with the name "Fowler", when prescribing compliance with rules, one should try to get the rules right, rather than relying on personal "instinctive repugnance.
    #33AuthorMikeE (236602) 22 Jan 09, 08:57
    Comment
    Good morning, Mike. A few comments before I rush off to work.

    Anna's German sentence "Darf ich fragen, ob XY sich schon dazu geäußert hat, was er davon hält, wenn wir uns mit ABC treffen würden?" could of course be translated as ". . . if we were to meet with ABC?"

    But she specifically asked about "us/our meeting with ABC?" That is why we are discussing the issue.

    In "fruitful meeting," "meeting" is a gerund and "fruitful" is an adjective modifying it. So there we have a gerund being modified by an adjective.

    Again: the "meeting" in Anna's sentence, "what do you think about our meeting with ABC?" is a present participle, not a gerund. But as I also pointed out, it can be construed as a gerund, which changes the meaning of the sentence somewhat.

    "My terminology" is the standard terminology of grammar. I really do not understand what you're getting at with your last sentence about Fowler.
    #34AuthorBob C. (254583) 22 Jan 09, 12:20
    Comment
    Bob,

    'I really do not understand what you're getting at with your last sentence about Fowler.'

    That was an allusion to a previous debate on this issue, specifically to Fowler's comment:
    "I confess to attaching more importance to my instinctive repugnance for "without you being" than to Professor Jespersen's demonstration that it had been said by more respectable authors than I had supposed."

    I think we will have to agree to differ.

    But perhaps we are talking at cross purposes. I understand this discussion to be about the dispute, described in Fowler's Modern English Usage (3rd ed.) under "possessive with gerund", i.e. the controversy about whether the gerund should be preceded by a possessive (e.g. "Women's having the vote reduces men's political power", "without your being", "Are you in favour of our meeting XYZ?") or or a non-possessive form (e.g. "Women having the vote reduces men's political power", "without you being", "Are you in favour of us meeting XYZ?")" . . .

    . . . and also addressed, for instance, in this paper: http://icame.uib.no/ij30/ij30-page37-54.pdf
    which specifically addresses possessive determiners (such as "our") vs objective pronouns (such as "us").
    #35AuthorMikeE (236602) 23 Jan 09, 01:10
    Comment
    Mike, the question Anna asks above regards a fused participle, not a gerund with possessive. So the issue is as Fowler discusses it in Modern English Usage (p. 216, column 1, example 3) under the heading "fused participle."

    The editor's note at the end of Fowler's article does not say whether Jespersen refuted Fowler's argument, only that he "made light of" it. I gather from the editor's note that Jespersen argued from usage rather than grammar. Fowler's argument that the fused participle is ungrammatical stands.

    The editor's note ends saying "It is clear that Fowler was right in deprecating the use of the fused participle with a proper name or personal pronoun in a simple sentence: upon your giving is undoubtedly more idiomatic than upon you giving."

    That is exactly what we have been discussing here.

    You may of course agree to disagree with it.
    #36AuthorBob C. (254583) 23 Jan 09, 02:04
    Comment
    Bob,

    Your citation (Modern English Usage (p. 216, column 1, example 3) under the heading "fused participle") is from the 1965 edition, which quotes verbatim the 1926 edition. The editor's note was from the 1965 edition.

    My reference was to the 1996 edition, where the article entitled "fused participle" is replaced by the article "possessive with gerund"; so I think we are talking about the same thing (i.e. an example of what post-war linguists have called a non-finite clause).

    You will note from the article that Fowler defended his point of view on the basis of Latin grammar.

    Fowler's argument does not stand.
    #37AuthorMikeE (236602) 23 Jan 09, 08:25
    Comment
    Mike, as I have had to repeat to you now several times, Anna asked about "us" vs. "our," which is what I addressed. I pointed out from the beginning here that in sentences such as Anna's, "us" is in common use, as are other forms of the fused participle.

    The Modern edition of "Fowler" says the use of "possessive with gerund with proper names and personal nouns persists in good writing. When the personal pronoun stands in the initial position it looks certain that the possessive form will be preferred for a long time to come: e.g. His being so capable was the only pleasant thing about the whole dreadful day. . . My being here mus embarass you." The substitution of Him and Me would take both sentences into a lower level of formality."

    Fowler's argument, as regards this specific issue (which is all I have addressed in the above) not only stands, it stands reinforced by the latest scholarship. Thanks for the reference.

    I hope it is now settled that "us meeting" is incorrect.
    #38AuthorBob C. (254583) 23 Jan 09, 12:30
    Comment
    To prevent anybody who is referred to this thread being misled, I would like to stress that it is definitely not settled that "us meeting" is incorrect.
    #39AuthorMikeE (236602) 23 Dec 09, 23:54
    Comment
    It was exhausting just to reread this thread.

    To me the belated moral is that 'meeting,' which is also an ordinary noun meaning an event you have to attend, was a really bad verb to choose as the basis of a theoretical discussion, even though it was what Anna needed to know at that time.

    'Our meeting with ABC' sounds like a meeting that already took place in the past: our meeting yesterday / last week = the meeting that we had. To avoid that, 'us meeting' seems even more reasonable to me now than it did the first time.

    But with a verb that's more clearly a verb, there's much less reason to avoid the possessive: our getting together with ABE, our going to see ABC, our having a meeting with ABC ...

    I still find it more helpful to discuss all this in relative terms than in absolute terms. To me, it really does depend on the sentence; a choice that is less preferable as a general rule might be more preferable in a specific instance.


    #40Authorhm -- us (236141) 24 Dec 09, 00:24
    Comment
    *push*
    But I do think that you can use "...what he thinks about our going to see ABC" and "...what he thinks about us going to see ABC" almost equally even in uttermost formal writings. "meeting" was a really bad choice since it can also mean "das Treffen" - a noun.
    #41AuthorUSA - Germany 12 Jan 10, 20:38
     
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