Why have "my" and "your" been used in place of "me" and "you" in "...There is no connection between **my** having no pencil and **your** having..."


Following is an excerpt from The Evolution of Physics, by Albert Einstein and Leonard Infeld:

Let us follow the motion of the idealized car on the idealized switchback as it begins to roll downward from the starting-point. As it moves its distance from the ground diminishes, but its speed increases. This sentence at first sight may remind us of one from a language lesson: "I have no pencil, but you have six oranges." It is not so stupid, however. There is no connection between my having no pencil and your having six oranges, but there is a very real correlation between the distance of the car from the ground and its speed. We can calculate the speed of the car at any moment if we know how high it happens to be above the ground, but we omit this point here because of its quantitative character which can best be expressed by mathematical formulae.

I wonder why have the author used "my" and "your" in place of "me" and "you" in the sentence, "...There is no connection between my(me) having no pencil and your(you) having six oranges..."

I am confused, about when to use "me" and when to use "my". E.g in the following sentence should I use "me" or "my"?

I was in real, no King, of the forest in the past. I am asking the Tiger to imagine a scenario in which I be king of the forest in past. Since, the sentence is present perfect the fact of my being the king in the past has present consequences and I am for sure, not King of the forest at present in that imaginary scenario --- the consequence is the fear of me in the pythons. The Tiger thinks that the fear in the Pythons would be because of something else not because of my(me?) being the King in the past. I am asking him, wouldn't my being the King in the past enough to make a fear of me in pythons?

Please explain me in simple English, when to use me and when to use my, while referring to myself? How do the sentences appear to native English speaker, when we replace me with my? I do not know technical English grammar, like gerund, verb or noun things.


Posted 2015-01-17T16:55:47.257

Reputation: 1 693

Question was closed 2015-01-17T21:24:28.793

Either is correct; the version with a possessive gives the gerund a 'nounier' feel, the version with an objective gives the gerund a 'verbier' feel. See this question: http://ell.stackexchange.com/q/37280/32

– StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T17:02:54.337

I think I saw a question similar to this (not what Stoney said). MWAHAHAHA, now I'm going to close it as duplicate, you better wish my not finding the question! Eh, :) just kidding. – M.A.R. – 2015-01-17T17:05:52.030

@MARamezani Could you tell me which question is the original version? That is, of which question is my question duplicate? – user31782 – 2015-01-17T17:14:54.900

Still looking for it. – M.A.R. – 2015-01-17T17:45:50.787

Wait. That question does have an answer to yours. I think you should do some modifications. Sorry, but it's a duplicate already. – M.A.R. – 2015-01-17T18:40:18.203

Here's another question that covers this: http://ell.stackexchange.com/a/19383/32

– StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T19:07:01.623

In case it's not clear: when an -ing form of the verb acts as a noun, or is the verb which heads a clause which acts as a noun, it is called a gerund. When an -ing form acts as an adjective, or is the verb which heads a clause which clause which acts as an adjective, it is called a present participle. I'm afraid you really have to learn a little bit of the technical terminology to talk about a language. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T19:13:10.780

@StoneyB sorry, I am not able to understand what you said in the previous comment. I also do not understand the post that you referred. These things are too much technical for me. Is there any simple explanation available somewhere? – user31782 – 2015-01-17T19:16:52.113

@StoneyB In my language Me and My are completely different words. E.g "My pen is lost" is correct but "Me pen is lost" doesn't make sense. It seems like Me has two different meanings in English. – user31782 – 2015-01-17T19:21:25.617

It refers to the same person, but it used for many different relationships; it is those relationships which differ between English and your language. What is your language? --perhaps someone who knows it will be able to explain how they differ. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T19:36:25.677

@StoneyB I can speak both Punjabi and Hindi. – user31782 – 2015-01-17T20:01:36.993

And have you studied the grammar of either of those languages? – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T20:56:15.650

@StoneyB I haven't. These are my native languages. I don't think that their grammar is available in textual form. I think, English can't be translated or understood in terms of those languages. E.g. Me of English has a similar meaning in Hindi called 'Mujhe', but in some cases if you translate English into Hindi, Me doesn't become 'Mujhe', rather it become "I". I'll try to learn about Gerunds and will modify the question accordingly. – user31782 – 2015-01-17T21:30:25.430

Have you read the English Wikipedia pages regarding hindi/punjabi grammar? They may help you understand which grammatical concepts have analogues and which don't. – Adam – 2015-01-17T22:31:00.130

This is one of the trickiest parts of English syntax, because in clauses like between X having &c, X is in a position where it feels like both A)the object of between (we say *between me and...*, and B) the subject of the verb (action word) having (we say *I have*, not *me have*). You have to pick one!--and in English we pick me with having. BUT: you can also think of having as a noun, a 'thing', which can be 'yours' or 'his' or 'mine': *My having no pencil makes me sad.* – StoneyB on hiatus – 2015-01-17T22:50:46.037

No answers