Monday, June 20, 2005

Do I Appreciate You, or What You Do?

A common grammatical mistake that we have all seen is in the following sentence:

I appreciate you working on the project.

Since the word working functions not as a verb but as a noun (a gerund), we need a pronoun in the possessive case (your), not the subjective case (you). We appreciate people, places, or things (nouns), not action words (verbs). Examples include “I appreciate Helen,” “You appreciate Chicago,” or “We appreciate mangos”; however, we do not say, “I appreciate do,” "You appreciate go," or "We appreciate eat.”

The correct way to write the faulty sentence is as follows:

I appreciate your working on the project.

OK, but some of us find this sentence too impersonal. After all, we may want to say that we appreciate the person and not the thing the person did. So here’s another option:

I appreciate you for working on the project.

The choice is yours: Appreciate the person for doing something, or the thing the person does. As for me, I have two closing statements, both grammatically correct:

I appreciate you for reading this message.
I appreciate your reading this message.