Gerunds

Gerunds are words derived from verbs that act as nouns. All gerunds include a verb and -ing. In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Gerunds in the English Grammar

What Are Gerunds?

A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun in a sentence. A gerund is created by adding the suffix '-ing' to the base form of a verb.

Gerunds: Form

To create a gerund, simply add '-ing' to the base form of the main verb. For example:

sleep → sleeping

work → working

Spelling Rules

Sometimes the spelling of the verb changes when adding '-ing' to form gerunds. The spelling rules that are to be observed when forming gerunds are discussed below.

  • If the verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the final letter before adding '-ing'.

Stop → Stopping

Run → Running

  • If the verb ends in consonant + unstressed vowel + consonant, do not double the final letter.

open → opening

  • If the verb ends in 'ie,' change it to 'y' before adding '-ing'.

Lie → Lying

Die → Dying

  • If the verb ends in vowel + consonant + 'e', omit the 'e' before adding '-ing'.

Come → Coming

Mistake → Mistaking

Gerunds: Functions

using a gerund as the subject of the sentence

gerunds can serve several functions in sentences. They can be used as:

  1. The Subject of a Verb
  2. The Object of a Verb
  3. Object of a Preposition
  4. Subject Complement

1. Gerunds as Subjects

Gerunds can serve as the subject of the verb. Look at these examples:

Smoking is bad for your health.

Meditating calms your nerves.

2. Gerunds as Objects

Gerunds can also serve as the objects of the verb. Look at the examples:

I love cooking.

I hate smoking.

3. Gerunds as Objects of Prepositions

When the gerund appears after a preposition, it serves as the object of preposition. For example:

I'm very good at painting.

I'm afraid of swimming.

4. Gerunds as Subject Complements

Gerunds can be used as the subject complement of the linking verb 'be.' For example:

The best thing about my trip to Japan was eating.

A good way to lose weight is exercising.

Gerunds vs. Present Participles

Both gerunds and present participles are created from a verb, and both end in –ing. However, they have different functions:

  • Gerunds function as nouns
  • Present participles function as verbs or adjectives

Baking is one of my favorite pastimes! → gerund

I was baking this afternoon. → present participle

Review

A gerund is a nominal structure made by adding -ing to the main verb to be used as:

  • the subject of a verb
  • the object of a verb
  • the object of a preposition
  • a subject complement

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