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You vs. Your
3

You vs. Your

You vs. Your

(OP)
Ok, we have a difference of opinion going here in my office on a survey we are preparing to send out.  One of the sentences has been questioned as to being grammatically correct and, this being the forum that it is, I thought could help us to resolve the debate.  The sentence is as follows:

CODE

We appreciate you(r) taking the time to complete the following survey to let us know how we are doing in serving you.
Should the first you where I have added the "r" be you or your?  All input is appreciated.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I am not young enough to know everything."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

RE: You vs. Your

It should be 'you'.

'your' cannot take anything.  'you' can.

If you would like to thank them for their time, then you could say 'your time', but that doesn't work if you are adding the verb.

~Thadeus

RE: You vs. Your

(OP)
Well, we just had someone else point out this:

CODE

Your---the possessive for the gerund "taking"
  
A quick look at a grammar book (don't ask why we have those sitting around the office) seems to confirm that is indeed the case.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I am not young enough to know everything."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

RE: You vs. Your

I parse a sentence like "We appreciate your taking the time", as:

Subject:  we
predicate: appreciate
direct object: taking the time

as such, the phrase "taking the time" is a gerund phrase, so "your" is correct.

However, I have read of another well-presented interpretation which makes "you" correct.  I just can't find it.

I'd be more worried about "taking the time to complete the following survey to let us know how we are doing in serving you".  That's an awful lot of butt to be hanging off the back of that sentence.  I might rewrite it as:

Because we want to know how well we are serving you, we would appreciated your taking the time to complete the following survey.


Want the best answers? Ask the best questions!

TANSTAAFL!!

RE: You vs. Your

I think it should be 'your'. Ditto to sleipnir214's comments.

_____
-John
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur

Help us help you.  Please read FAQ181-2886 before posting.

RE: You vs. Your

There is a rule in grammar that calls for nouns and pronouns that preceed gerunds to be the in the possessive case.  By that rule, 'your' would be correct.  On the other hand, there is also support for using a fused particple instead of the possessive, which would suggest that 'you' be used.

In this case, there is justification for either one.

Good Luck
--------------
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read FAQ181-2886
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: You vs. Your

...gerunds...

I knew that my English teacher, Sister Hilda Idalia wasn't saying "German", but I was so distracted I never followed up... bleeding knuckles will keep one from asking silly questions.

So I knew that 'taking' was the 'german' form, but hey, who'da known it would matter?

~Thadeus

RE: You vs. Your

(OP)
Thanks for the input!  In the end, we are going with the "grammatically correct" your as management has dictated that is the proper way to go.  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I am not young enough to know everything."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

RE: You vs. Your

I would have written:

"We appreciate the time you are taking to complete the following survey..."

Sounds better to me, but I am not young enough either.

RE: You vs. Your

Sleipner and John (CC) are absolutely right on the money with your taking. Certainly someone could say:

Quote (Someone):

We appreciate you.
In this instance, you is the direct object of the sentence. If you reword the sentence to say:

Quote (You):

We appreciate...taking the time...
, then taking the time is the direct object. If, however, you wish to place ownership upon the gerund direct object, you follow the same rules that you would for other ownership assignments...You certainly would not assign ownership in this fashion: "You book", "You car", "You time"...therefore, you would not assign ownership as "...you taking time...".Anytime you assign ownership to a gerund, it should be possessive: "...your taking time...".

Mufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[www.dasages.com: Providing low-cost remote Database Admin services]
Click here to join Utah Oracle Users Group on Tek-Tips if you use Oracle in Utah USA.

RE: You vs. Your

I think, Santa is right on there.

In this grammatical structure, "taking the time" is used as a noun.
In German it would be called a "substanivized verb". Not sure if there exists an analogy in English.
However, you could rephrase the sentence into a - granted - ugly structure, but that should suit it somewhat:

"We appreciate the taking-the-time by you...
(Ouch! Hurts while reading)

So depending on what or who you appreciate (the person or taking the time), you or your would be correct.

On second thought: Can you "appreciate" a person? If not, "you" would even be wrong, wouldn't it?

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RE: You vs. Your

==> In German it would be called a "substanivized verb". Not sure if there exists an analogy in English.
Substantivizing is turning a verb into a noun.  A gerund is a noun that is formed from an action verb.

Yes, I think you can appreciate a person.  That would be much clearer if the sentence read, "We appreciate you for  taking the time ...".  In fact, as a general rule, whenever the noun is separated from the gerund, the posessive should be dropped.  We appreciate you and your brother taking the time ....

Another reason why 'you' sounds right in this case is another exception to using the possesive before a gerund.  Whenever the noun is plural or collective, then you shouldn't use the possessive.  If the 'you' were plural or collective, which 'you' can be, then you would not use the possessive.  In this case Chopstik is sending out a survey and this is a sentence on the survey.  That implies to me, that 'you' is singular, directly at the person taking the survey, and therefore the possesive 'your' should be used.  On the other hand, if a professor of a class hands out an evalution to all the students, and the professor then states to the class as a whole, "I appreciate you taking the time ...", the 'you' is plural or collective, so the possessive should not be used.

Good Luck
--------------
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read FAQ181-2886
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: You vs. Your

I parse the sentence as "We appreciate you". I don't see "taking" as a noun/gerund, but as a verb. It's not the same as a noun, such as "car". What is appreciated isn't an object, but an action: taking.

Take another example, "I appreciate you doing this". Are you saying that "I appreciate YOUR doing this" is correct?

If you want to treat "doing" and/or "taking" as gerunds, don't you need a preposition?

I appreciate your [doing of this].
I appreciate your [taking of time].

or phrased another way to make it clear they are objects/nouns:

I appreciate your [this-doing].
I appreciate your [time-taking].

"taking the time" isn't an object of APPRECIATE, it's an action performed by YOU, so:

"I appreciate you taking the time", is correct.

Thomas D. Greer

Providing PostScript & PDF
Training, Development & Consulting

RE: You vs. Your

Wow ! Are you guys getting tangled up in your underwear or what? If the object of appreciation is YOU, then why are you even mentioning taking the time? You would just say:

Quote (You):

I appreciate you.
...which would be totally, grammatically correct. Once you qualify the appreciation with "taking the time," then (although you may be appreciating the person) you are appreciating the "taking the time"!!! And, as I asserted in my earlier post, above, grammatically if a "you" (whether a plural "you" or a singular "you") is involved with a completely separate direct object, then someone (you) must possess that direct object with a "your". Otherwise you have two distinct direct objects (d.o.s) ..."I appreciate you (d.o. #1) taking the time (d.o. #2)." That is totally incorrect grammar unless you separate the two d.o.s with a conjuction ("and", "or"): "I appreciate you and (your) taking the time...". If you diagram the sentence, you will see the error of the "...you taking the time..." method.

This is a fundamental rule of English grammar studies for which I cannot believe there exists any argument. This is as fundamental as the error of saying, "Bill took Mary and I to lunch."

Although several of you have asserted that "...you taking the time..." is correct, you have only asserted that, not proved it grammatically. That is because the grammatical proof lies in favour of "...your taking the time..." You will not find any grammar text anywhere that backs up the "...you taking..." position. You will, however, find the contrary.

Arguing it further is, frankly, a tad embarrassing.

Mufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[www.dasages.com: Providing low-cost remote Database Admin services]
Click here to join Utah Oracle Users Group on Tek-Tips if you use Oracle in Utah USA.

RE: You vs. Your

What we're dealing with here is technically known as a "fused participle", which causes ambiguity. In this case, the ambiguity is whether "taking the time" is a gerund object, or a verb. EITHER interpretation is correct. However, the meanings are subtly different.

In other words, is "taking" a noun, or a verb? That depends on how it's modified. If you want to treat taking as "time-taking", a noun, then you have to use the possesive, "your". If you want to treat "taking" as a verb, then someone has to DO the taking, and that someone is "you".

It's a fused participle because the preposition is left out of this sentence, causing the amibguity in "taking".

The sentence could be interepreted two ways:

I appreciate [something you possess]

-or-

I appreciate [an action you are performing]

To dis-ambiguate the sentence, you have to "un-fuse" the participle, either:

I appreciate you taking YOUR time.

-or-

I appreciate the taking OF your time.

But with the construction "taking the time", time is being taken, which means "taking" is used as verb, and action performed by "you". That action is appreciated, thus:

"I appreciate you taking the time", is "more" correct, than "I appreciate your taking the time".

In the former case, it's clear that it is YOU who is appreciated, in the latter, it's the "time-taking" that is appreciated.

However, BOTH are supported by the rules of grammar. The issue isn't really YOU vs. YOUR, but the fused participle "taking the time".

Thomas D. Greer

Providing PostScript & PDF
Training, Development & Consulting

RE: You vs. Your

This is a good discussion on proper grammar.

Yes, I mentioned the use of a fused participle in my original post.  But note, tgreer, the very fact that a fused participle is ambiguous is why is not a good construct, and should be avoided.  In fact, the noted grammarian H.W. Fowler called the use of a fused participle "indefensible".  Although there is a time and place for the fused participle, we need to keep in mind that in this case, it is 'the taking of time to complete survey' that is appreciated.

Taking is not a verb, it is a gerund.  If it's a verb, then it should appear somewhere in the conjugation of the verb 'to take'.  The fact that it doesn't is a good solid clue that it is not a verb.  In most cases, the proper way to unfuse the participle is to use the posessive form of the initial noun.

Here is one source that describes this, as well as the exceptions.  Please see the section on "Using Possessives with Gerunds" towards the bottom of the page.
Gerunds and Infinitives: Their Noun Roles

Good Luck
--------------
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read FAQ181-2886
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: You vs. Your

A fused participle is by nature, ambiguous, and thus what is actually meant is open to debate.

You state it is "the taking of the time to complete the survey" that is appreciated. That is one possible interpretation. Another is "we appreciate you, and the time you are taking".

So I'll restate that asking, "which is correct, 'you' or 'your'", is the wrong question. One is as correct, or incorrect, as the other, when used with a fused participle. Mr. Fowler may "suggest" that we always use "your" with a fused participle, but he makes that suggestion to remove ambiguity when a fused participle IS used. The PROPER way to deal with the issue is NOT to use a fused participle in the first place.

What the original author needs to do is clarify what it is, precisely, he'd like to convey, and phrase it without using a fused participle. Either thank the person for their time:

"Than you for your time."

Or, thank them for taking the survey:

"Thank you for taking our survey."

Or, both:

"Thank you for taking our survey. We appreciate your time."

To say: "We appreciate [you/your] taking the time to complete our survey" is poor grammar whichever term you choose.


Thomas D. Greer

Providing PostScript & PDF
Training, Development & Consulting

RE: You vs. Your

This thread is just like work.
It seems we all have so many meetings that sound much like this.

RE: You vs. Your

My vote goes with ChrisHunt...and, of course with deputydoofy - my brain hurts too !
Thanks!
Elanor

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