Gerunds – what's the correct answer?

by Mahmoud

Hi Ma'am Ola,
How are you?

I've read this question in an exam but I don't feel there is a correct choice.

The question is:

"I really appreciate your .......... me at this difficult time."

Possible answers:

a) helps b) help c) helped d) helping

Please, can you explain the answer and the difference between the noun and the gerund?


Ola's answer:

Hi Mahmoud,

First of all, the correct answer in this case would be "helping."

Here is the correct sentence:

"I really appreciate your helping me at this difficult time."

Now, the reason this just "doesn't sound right" is that this kind of structure is typically used in more formal English. In everyday English you would usually say it like this:
"I really appreciate you helping me at this difficult time."

Here are some more examples of this sentence structure:

- We enjoyed her singing. (She sang and we enjoyed it.)

- I disliked his coming late to work. (He came late to work and I disliked it.)

- You mentioned dinner's being ready. (Dinner was ready and you mentioned it.)

- Monica liked John's handling of the situation. (John handled the situation and Monica liked the way he did it.)

Click here for more details on gerunds.

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