A gerund is a verbal, and always functions as a noun. It is formed by adding "ing" to the verb. I have recently found out that gerund must be modified by a possessive noun or pronoun. However, it is important to distinguish between a present participle and a gerund, something I sometimes have trouble with.

The noun or pronoun before the gerund is called the subject of the gerund, and should be in the possessive form. However, what if there is a word of negation (no or not) positioned in between? Below are the two examples I thought of. I believe that both of them are gerunds and not participles. Which is the correct construction according to the above grammar rule?

  • She is worried about me not knowing the truth


  • She is worried about my not knowing the truth

Now, I know I should be confident in using the second example, given the rule. However, I just want to make sure that there is no exception or changed even when there exists a word of negation separating the noun/pronoun and the gerund.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

2 Answers 2


Both are acceptable. The first is more common in speech while the second tends to be more formal or literary.


As you can see from this chart, although "my" is more common than "me", both are used. "Me" is more recent, but should be acceptable.

However, the use of "me" seems exclusive to AmE. A British speaker might insist that "my" is the only correct option.

Personally I also prefer "my" as it aligns better with "She was worried about".

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