A question about the English

EricC1Kwiziq community member

A question about the English

I have a point to make about the English.  It involves a very common mistake.  When using a gerund it should be modified by an adjective.  From the examples above:  It has been a day without him eating is not correct, it should be; It has been a day without his eating.  He came without your knowing.  I won`t leave without your kissing me goodbye. etc.

Asked 5 months ago
LauraKwiziq team member

Bonjour Eric - Thank you for pointing this out, it's fixed.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I'm not entirely sure it needed to be fixed. See https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2637

Some of the examples seem confusing to me, at least in English. What does "They didn't speak without your encouraging them." actually mean?

1. They didn't speak until you encouraged them.

2. They only spoke when (while) you encouraged them.

3. They wouldn't have spoken if you hadn't encouraged them.

4. They didn't speak because you didn't encourage them.

5. Every time they spoke, you encouraged them.

Maybe the French sentences are correct, but require some other translation, perhaps not using "without".

Because some of the English sentences sound a bit strange to me, I find it difficult to say whether a possessive is appropriate in each case. 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Agree with Alan on this one - the changes to the English translations were unnecessary. Regardless of any prescribed English 'grammatical rule', that Eric has noted, the rule of usage was already observed (that old argument of prescriptive or descriptive grammar again). There are many situations in which a discord between English and French grammar occur, but it is not necessary to have one here. Possessive not needed in either language. There may be regional differences in the English usage, but you would never hear them said the way they are now written in my part of the world. It would sound quite archaic or pompous here. 

A question about the English

I have a point to make about the English.  It involves a very common mistake.  When using a gerund it should be modified by an adjective.  From the examples above:  It has been a day without him eating is not correct, it should be; It has been a day without his eating.  He came without your knowing.  I won`t leave without your kissing me goodbye. etc.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
I'll be right with you...