Fused Participle

Q: Which is correct:

“I appreciate you thinking of me.”


“I appreciate your thinking of me.”

A: “Your thinking of me” is always right. It’s both grammatically correct and stylistically preferred.

I was about to add that “you thinking of me” is always wrong—that is, it’s always ungrammatical and always “works less well” stylistically. But I just looked up the question in Garner’s Modern American Usage, and I’m only 80% right.

“You thinking of me” is called a fused participle. Garner says, “The possessive ought to be used whenever it is not unidiomatic or unnatural.” But he goes on to provide examples where the possessive would sound unnatural.

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