What are Gerunds

What are Gerunds

Although the term gerund might sound new and strange to you, gerund is a common type of noun that is used in everyday speech. In this article, we are going to discuss the nature of gerunds, and their functions.

Gerunds are verb forms that act as nouns. They are the verb form that ends with -ing. Some students find it difficult to identify a gerund in a sentence; this is because gerunds look the same as present participles. For example, look at the verb forms below.

looking, reading, swimming, being, killing, hunting, smoking, playing, attacking

All these words end in –ing form, and they can be termed as examples for gerunds. However, it is important to know that these verb forms can function as gerunds as well as present participles. It all depends on how they are used in a sentence. 

Ex: 1

He is reading a book.

Here, reading functions as a verb. Therefore, it can be said that reading acts as the present participle here.

Ex: 2

Reading is his hobby.

Here, be (is) is the main verb of the sentence. Reading acts as a noun.

Usage of Gerunds

Gerunds can be used as different parts of a sentence. It can be used as a subject, subject complement, direct object, indirect object, and object of a preposition.

Gerund as the Subject

Smoking can cause lung cancer.

Learning has no age-limits.

Brushing your teeth every day saves a trip to the dentist.

What are Gerunds

Gerund as the Subject Complement

One of life’s pleasures is having breakfast in bed.

 His favorite activity was hunting

Seeing is believing.

Gerund as the Direct Object

He hates shopping.

She doesn’t enjoy working on Sundays.

Please stop shouting.

Gerund as the Object of Preposition

Everyone knew that she was devoted to singing.

The police arrested him for fighting with his neighbors.

She is good at painting.

Now that you know how gerunds can be used in sentences read the sentences below and identify the gerunds. Remember: not all verb forms ending with –ing can be termed as gerunds.

  1. He was waiting for at the bus stop when the rain started.
  2. He objects to working on weekends.
  3. She couldn’t help falling in love with him.
  4. My father gave up smoking a long time ago.
  5. His swimming coach said that Jack has a bright future.
  6. Attending meetings is one of her duties.
  7. She has been dreaming of this moment all her life.
  8. Nile loves singing, but he cannot sing.

You’ll note that each sentence above has verb forms ending with-ing. But if you read the sentences carefully, you’ll note that not all of them can be considered as gerunds. In some sentences, the gerund is acting as a verb (He was waiting for at the bus) or adjective (His swimming coach…) The sentences that use gerunds are,

He objects to working on weekends.

She couldn’t help falling in love with him.

My father gave up smoking a long time ago.

Attending meetings is one of her duties.

Nile loves singing, but he has a horrible voice.

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