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.

What Are Gerunds?

Gerunds are words that are created from verbs but act as nouns. All gerunds are a verb plus -ing. This rule has no exceptions.

The Difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle

Gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns. Present participles do not act as nouns. Instead, they act as adjectives or in continuous tenses.

Gerunds: Form

To create a present participle simply add '-ing' to the base of the main verb. For example:

sleep → sleeping

work → working

Spelling Rules

Sometimes simply adding -ing is not enough. Here we will discuss the rules:

  • If the verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the last letter.

Stop → Stopping

Run → Running

  • If the verb ends in consonant + unstressed vowel + consonant, (the base verb is not stressed) do not double the last letter.

open → opening

  • If the verb ends in 'ie,' change the 'ie' to 'y.'

Lie → Lying

Die → Dying

  • If the verb ends in vowel + consonant + 'e,' omit the 'e.'

Come → Coming

Mistake → Mistaking

Gerunds: Uses

using a gerund phrase as the subject of the sentence

There are several cases in which we use gerunds. We use them as:

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

1. Gerunds as Subjects

Gerunds can take the role of subject of the verb. Look at these examples:

Smoking is bad for your health.

Meditating calm your nerves.

2. Gerunds as Objects

Gerunds can also be used as the objects of the verb. Look at these examples:

I love cooking.

I hate smoking.

3. Gerunds as Objects of Prepositions

When the gerund is a noun, it can be the object of a 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.

Gerund Phrases

Gerunds will often be at the head a gerund phrase. A gerund phrase consists of a gerund, its objects, and all modifiers.

Eating food too quickly will make you ill.

Here, the gerund phrase consists of the gerund eating. Although gerunds are noun, they still have some properties of a verb like having an object or other modifiers.

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 act like nouns
  • Present participles act like verbs or adjectives

Baking is one of 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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