I had a nice conversation recently with a Burbank English teacher who wanted to get to the bottom of a question that had plagued him since he was a student. Why, he wanted know, had he been taught to say “I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me” instead of “I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me”?
Here’s another example of the issue: “Joe resented Mary’s arriving late” vs. “Joe resented Mary arriving late.”
One more: “I’m shocked at Betty’s saying that” as opposed to “I’m shocked at Betty saying that.”
In other words, is it better to use a possessive like “Betty’s” before an “-ing” form, or just the plain-old non-possessive noun, “Betty, ” and, most important: Why?
Yes, a possessive like “your” before an “-ing” form is considered by traditionalists to be better. But all the experts say the plain-old “you” is often acceptable, too. So the most important thing to know is that you can trust your own ear.