Gerund Clauses with Subjects

Comment on the activity of other people

Guest on welcome mat
 

 

Expressing the "agent" in a subordinated clause

VERB + FULL CLAUSE

After a specific group of verbs, a  speaker can state opinion about an activity with a that-clause or if-clause (a "full clause' or finite clause). This wording places equal emphasis on the agent and the activity of the subordinate clause. The pronoun may refer back to the subject of the main clause or to another person.

SUBJ + PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP + V SUBORD + CLAUSE

Jill recalls

that Jack asked if he could stay just a week.

that Jack asked (her) a favor.

Jill remembers

that she asked him to visit for a week.

(she = Jill)

Jill anticipates

that he will want to stay another month.

that Jack will want to stay…

Jill discussed

that he should move out of her apartment.

Jill imagines

that he might stay forever

Jill resents

that he has overstayed his welcome(stayed too long)

VERB + REDUCED CLAUSE

A similar meaning is expressed with a reduced clause— a gerund clause. The agent ("doer") of the clause is expressed as his, their, her, etc. (possessive obj. pronoun) or informally, as him, her, them, us, etc.(obj. pronoun) The pronoun usually refers to a person different from the subject of the main clause.                  

SUBJ + PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP + V POSSESSIVE N / N + GER CLS

Jill recalls

Jack's / Jack asking (her) if he could stay just a week.

his / him asking…

Jill remembers

~herself / ¹her asking him to visit for a week.

asking him to visit for a week.

Jill anticipates

his / him wanting to stay another month

Jill discussed

his / *him moving out of her apartment

Jill imagines

his / him wanting to stay forever

Jill resents

his / him (for) overstaying his welcome

 

¹ The subject of the gerund clause is usually omitted if it is the same as the subject of the main clause. Otherwise, it is repetitive.  See Huddleston 14 §1.5-7

* not used / ~ questionable use, informal use

 

Functions: Subject – the causer or doer of the action ; Predicate – the action; COMP – complement:  elements required by the verb to complete its meaning (direct object, indirect object, or predicative complement) ;  ADJUNCT: elements not required by the verb (adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, clauses)

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; V – verb; GER – gerund; Nonfinite Clause: an infinitive or gerund clause (formerly "phrase"); Subord – Subordinator

accusative – a noun form used when it is the object of the verb (her, him, us, them); nominative – a noun form used when it is the subject of the verb  (she, he, we, they)

 

(Huddleston 14 §5.3 [31])  (Swan 295.4, 296.2)

 

 

Verbs complemented by a gerund clause with an agent (subject)

anticipate

appreciate

can't help

celebrate

delay

describe

detest

discuss

dislike

enjoy

fancy

foresee

imagine

mention

*don't mind

miss

put off

recall

regret

relish

resent

risk

tolerate

welcome

Also in question form, "Do you mind my/me smoking here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerund Clause w/ Subject

Possessive or "for" clause

 

 

 

Expressing the "agent" as a possessive vs. prepositional clause

POSSESSIVE GERUND CLAUSE

This group of verbs may be complemented by a possessive gerund clause. That is the agent of the clause takes the form of a possessive pronoun.

SUBJ + VERB OBJ / POSS PRONOUN + GERUND

Jill excused

his staying so long

Jack forgave

my not giving him a loan. 

Jill prevented

 

our returning again

Jack stopped

her locking him out (prevented)

OBJECT + GERUND CLAUSE

This group of verbs also takes an object complement followed by a prepositional gerund clause. The preposition for or from are optionally included.  The preposition subordinates the clause to the main clause.

SUBJ + VERB OBJ + PREP + GERUND CLAUSE

Jill excused him

(for) staying so long.

Jack forgave me

(for) not giving him a loan.

Jill prevented us

(from) returning again.

Jack stopped her

(from) locking him out.

 

  (Huddleston 14 §5.4 [46])

 

excuse

forgive

pardon

prevent

prohibit

stop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerund Clauses w/ Subject

Verb + Preposition Combinations

 

 

 

Expressing the "agent" in a prepositional clause

NOUN PHRASE

A specific group of verbs takes an object and preposition combination as a complement.  The agent of the action in the prep. phrase (e.g., long stay) is understood from context.

SUBJ + VERB + PREP  + NOUN  PHRASE

Jack apologized to her

for the long stay.

Jack blamed her

for his failure to find a job. 

Jack complained to her

about his lack of money.

Jack congratulated her

 

on her victory. 

Jack thanked her

for her hospitality. 

GERUND CLAUSE

The preposition may also be followed by a gerund clause.   The 'agent" (subject) of the gerund clause is included in the form of a possessive pronoun.  (The preposition subordinates the nonfinite clause.)

SUBJ + VERB + PREP + PRN + GERUND CLS

Jack apologized to her

for his (her) having to stay so long

Jack blamed her

for his (her) failure to find a job. 

Jack complained to her

about his (her) not having money.

Jack congratulated her

 

on (her) winning the argument

Jack thanked her

for (her) letting him stay a while longer. 

 

Note that traditionally, a preposition takes an object as a complement; however, in current linguistic description, a preposition can take a wide variety of complements. See Prep Complements

direct object pronoun me, you him, her, them us; prepositional phrase (PP) – to me, to you, to him, to her, to them, to us.
Also see Indirect Objects 

 

 

 

Verb + preposition combination list

adjust to  –  We adjusted to their living farther away.

agree on / to  –  We agreed on her moving into her own office.

apologize for  –  He apologized for his having forgotten the meeting.

approve of  –  We approved of his wanting to go to college.

believe in  –  We believe in his wanting to change his  life for the better.

blame for  –  They blamed her for his leaving home.

care about  –  They don't care about our living together.

congratulate  –  We congratulated them on their winning the award

decide against  –  We decided against his joining us full time.

get used to  –  They are getting used to his working on the weekends.

insist on  –  They are insisting on our staying at least a week.

look forward to  –  They are looking forward to our visiting them.

put off  –  They will put off her coming for a visit.

rely on  –  We rely on their assisting us.

succeed in  –  They will succeed in their making a new world record.

warn against  –  We warned against his joining that group.

See Verb + Prep List

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

Traditional Grammar vs. Linguistic Description

 TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar, you is the object of the verb thank.   The gerund (verbal noun) is the object of the preposition for.

In example (A) the pronoun you is the object of the verb thank.  The preposition for, a grammaticized preposition, is closely associated with the verb.  The verb requires this particular preposition. The gerund clause complements the preposition. (A preposition can be complemented by a wide variety of structures not limited to a noun.)   (Huddleston14 §1.5-7)

A.  PRONOUN + PREPOSITION A.  PRONOUN + PREPOSITION

I thank you for giving me the gift  Click the diagram to enlarge it.

Thank you for giving me a gift.

In traditional grammar, the gerund (a verbal noun) functions as the object of the clause. The possessive is a determiner for the verbal noun. Using the object pronoun was informal usage.

This point is not included in Azar.  See list 14-9. It is normally introduced with the expression "Would you mind my/me smoking here?"

In example (B) the pronoun you or the possessive determiner your  is the subject of the nonfinite gerund-participle clause. 

Huddleston states that the possessive pronoun before a gerund-particpial clause might be argued as "some kind nominal–verbal hybrid construction, but we believe it is better, for several reasons, to regard the genitive as having been reanalysed as a clause subject."  14 §1.5 [59]

B.   POSSESSIVE PRONOUN   B.   PRONOUN / POSSESSIVE PRONOUN  

Charlie resents your questioning him

Diagram: Charlie resents you/your questioning him

Clause; Subject / Predicate; Finite / Nonfinite; NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Comp – complement; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; Sub – Subordinator
Also see structure of Buy v. Thank  "He bought a gift for me." "He thanked me for the gift."

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Commenting on the activities of others

 

 

 

Add pronouns and/or prepositions to complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.
Fixing door George fixed my front door. I appreciate his work.

2.
cigarette butt

3.
acress

4.

5.
guitar basherJay was upset with his guitar.

6.
gum ball babyThe toddler wanted a gum ball.

7.
nurse

8.
Joe waited until the last day to write his report.
working late

9.
My neighbor likes peace.
grandfather

10.
Archer with bad aim
I missed the target!
Pardon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Complaints to Car Rental

man changing tire
 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select a response correct or incorrect.
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 11-20" button.

 

11.
The rental company rented me a car with old tires that went flat.  I blame them nearly causing an accident.

     

12.
The rental company failed to check the tires.  I will complain to their failing to check the tires.

       

13.
I will sue them!  They will regret their being so careless.

     

14.
The rental agent said that they couldn't prevent me for having a tire blow out.

     

15.
I told them that I could not put up with them not servicing the rental cars satisfactorily.

     

put up with – tolerate

16.
I asked to speak to the manager.  He apologized having a bad experience with their car.

     

17.
He described me blowing out a tire on the freeway.

     

18.
He discussed my getting a refund for the rental.

     

19.
The company manager agreed to my receiving a refund for the rental car.

     

20.
I thanked the company manager for him returning my rental fees.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Thank You Letter

 

 

 

Complete the sentence within the paragraph.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check 21-25" or "Check 26-31" button.

 

21-25
Dear Carla and Bob,

Sincerely, Jane Reed
Executive Director
Dear Carla and Bob, Sincerely,
Jane Reed Executive Director
26-30.
When I spoke to the other employees in my department, they became concerned.  My coworkers and I would appreciate
Sincerely,
Joe Reed
Accounting Department
When I spoke to the other employees in my department, they became concerned.  My co—worker and I would appreciate Sincerely,
Joe Reed
Accounting Department