[b-hebrew] pere's question on he/she/him/her

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Sat Dec 18 16:35:44 EST 2010

On Sat, 18 Dec 2010 06:44:21 +0100, Pere Porta <pporta7 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nir,
> thank you for your kind explanation.
> But I'd prefer a more direct and precise answer.
> My question is really not on the Hebrew but on the English as this is
> intended to, so to say, literally translate the Hebrew:
> ---In Gn 37:4 we have DABRWO, to speak him/it. No problem with the English
> because the suffix -WO plays the part of the object and not of the subject.
> ---But in Ex 34:29 we have B'DABRWO. Putting aside preposition B, we have
> the same word.
> Now, at literally translating it to the English, which is the right form:
> 1. (in) the fact/act of HE to speak
> 2. (in) the fact/act of HIM to speak?
> Remark: here in Ex 34:29 the suffix WO plays the part of the subject (and
> not the part of the object as it was the case in Gn 37:4).
> This is my question.
> Remark that I'm asking on the English rather than on the Hebrew (I'm not a
> native english-speaking person...)

The usual formulation is that the subject of an infinite (to + verb) is in the
objective case:

   (she wanted) him to leave

The subject of a gerund (-ing form) is in the possessive case:

   (she regretted) his leaving

Although using the possessive case as the subject of a gerund is considered
"correct", colloquially many English speakers will use an objective case here
instead ("she regretted him leaving").

Will Parsons

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