As non-native speaker of English, I'm having trouble making sense of a structure pertaining to object pronouns:

  1. Likelihood of me doing this ...
  2. Your plan involves me attempting to prepare plans necessary for you.
  3. Chances of me getting into that school is high.

What is it that establishes the connection between object pronouns and verbs in gerund form in terms of both grammar and meaning?

In my language, expressions corresponding to the expressions in bold above are constituted with "my" instead of "me". That is the reason why I'm having trouble.

  • 2
    It's much less common, but you can actually replace "me" with "my" in all of these cases (and some can argue it's the "correct" choice). I'm not sure the history but I'm guessing that "my" used to be the common choice and slowly switched over to "me".
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2015 at 16:57
  • 2
    This question on ELU might help.
    – Catija
    Apr 27, 2015 at 16:57
  • Related: ell.stackexchange.com/q/43384/3281 Apr 27, 2015 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


That's not the gerund.  That's its identical cousin, the participle.  If it were a gerund, then you would use the genitive form "my":

  • The likelihood of my doing this is small

In this example, "doing this" is a gerund phrase.  "My" modifies the gerund phrase.  The modified gerund phrase is the object of the preposition "of".  

  • The likelihood of me doing this is small

In this example, "doing this" is a participial phrase.  Participial phrases can modify nouns.  This participial phrase modifies "me".  The modified objective personal pronoun is the object of the preposition "of".  

Because there's no visible difference between the gerund and the so-called present participle, it almost looks like "me" and "my" are doing the same job.  They aren't.  The "me" acts as a modified object; the "my" acts as an object modifier.  Of course, in both cases you end up with some modified object for the preposition "for".  The overall meaning of each is much the same, and the choice between them is often no more than a question of stylistic convention.

If it helps, my personal preference is for the gerund construction.  I prefer the action, rather than the person, to be the literal object.

  • Could you show us a grammar source for the stuff in your answer post?
    – F.E.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 20:28
  • Sorry. Whichever 30-year-old high school text book it was from which I gleaned that, I'd never be able to find it now. Apr 27, 2015 at 20:31
  • I'm asking because a lot of it doesn't sound quite right.
    – F.E.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 20:32
  • Can you be specific? I can't really respond to an unspecified "a lot". Apr 27, 2015 at 20:52
  • For a start, here's a related answer post (link found in comments to OP's post) : When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive pronoun?, where some of the info differs.
    – F.E.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 21:07

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