He insisted on my/me singing a song.

Would you use "my' or "me" in the above? Thanks.
1 2 3
Singing is a gerund, a noun, so it takes the possessive my.
Grammar GeekSinging is a gerund, a noun, so it takes the possessive my.

Thanks, GG.

But I am under the impression that some native speakers may use "me" in this similar context.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
You're quite likely to hear some native speakers say that, but especially in writing, stick with the possessive my instead of me.
NewPhilologistYou're quite likely to hear some native speakers say that, but especially in writing, stick with the possessive my instead of me.
Thanks, Philologist.

By the way, are there any differences bewteen you and a linguist?
Grammar GeekSinging is a gerund, a noun, so it takes the possessive my.
Hi GG

Do you also say:
I insist on English's being spoken?

Cheers
CB
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
No, but I'd say "I insisted on his speaking English."
Grammar GeekSinging is a gerund, a noun, so it takes the possessive my.

This is rather peculiar, I think. I have encountered the same thing on these forums many times. Native speakers say: "A gerund is a noun." Do they teach it that way in American schools and universities? Grammatical terminology varies greatly from country to country but I have yet to meet a grammarian who says a noun can have an object:

I insisted on his speaking English.

Furthermore, all nouns can have an adjectival attribute; in other words, we can put an adjective before them:

He likes old books.
Merry old England fascinates me.
Little Mary wanted to go out.
Useful information was given to everybody.

So, if gerunds are full-fledged nouns, the following is correct:

Correct speaking English is easy.

Few consider it correct. A gerund is neither a noun nor a verb; it's a cross between them. It has some qualities characteristic of nouns and some that are characteristic of verbs. It resembles a verb in that it can take an object, for instance.

Therefore, "I insist on him speaking English" and "I insist on his speaking English" are equally grammatical. In the first sentence, him is used due to the influence of the preposition on, which is normal English grammar. In the second sentence his is used because speaking is a noun to an extent, even though it's not a complete noun. It has long been customary to consider possessive forms (my, his, our) of personal pronouns better than the object forms (me, him, us) as subjects of a gerund. It also used to be common to consider the basic or common form of other words better in this position:

I insist on John Smith speaking English. (Also: John Smith's)
I insist on everybody speaking English. (Rarely: everybody's)

In the past 30 or so years I have noticed a tendency in American magazines and newspapers to prefer the genitive even in cases where it sounds and looks ludicrous. I assume this can be ascribed to rising standards in education. Nevertheless, there has never been a grammatical justification to consider one of the alternatives better. The tendency to consider the possessive form the better seems to me to stem from grammatical ignorance rather than a good knowledge of it. There is no grammatical or historical justification for preferring either form.

Cheers
CB
You're right - gerunds are not nouns, but rather they act like nouns in many situations.

As you know, without an English Academy, language will evolve along, and eventually what enough speakers use in any given context becomes the correct form.

(For your last example, I'd rewrite, by the way. I insist that everybody speak English.)
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more