What Are Gerund Phrases?
Gerund Phrases: Parts
A gerund phrase consist of:
Let's start with some easy examples, then work our way up to the more complex ones:
A gerund phrase always starts with the gerund.
In the gerund phrase above:
- 'Driving' is the gerund.
- 'A car' is the direct object of the gerund (also called the gerund complement)
- 'Carelessly is a modifier (an adverb).
Now take a look at a more complex example:
Here, 'without being careful' is an adverbial phrase, which itself contains a gerund phrase (being careful) consisting of a gerund (being) and its complement (careful).
Let's dissect more gerund phrases:
The parts of the gerund phrase are:
- gerund → drinking
- direct object → wine
- modifier → heavily
Here are the parts of the gerund phrase:
- gerund → watching
- direct object → the sunset
- modifier → in the mountaintop
A gerund phrase can be without an object:
Gerund phrase → Gerund (Driving) + Modifier (carelessly)
A gerund phrase can also be without a modifier:
The dog doesn't care about
Gerund phrase → Gerund (destroying) + object (the flowers)
Gerund Phrases: Functions
A gerund phrase acts as a noun, therefore can take the functions of:
My son enjoys
Studying a new language is futile without
My favorite activity is
A gerund phrase normally does not need any punctuation with it.
Gerund Phrases vs. Participle Phrases
Do not confuse gerund phrases with participle phrases. Remember that: When used as a modifier—that is, as an adverb—it is now a participle phrase.
- When used as a noun it a gerund phrase
- When used as a modifier (an adjective or an adverb) it a participle phrase
This is a gerund phrase.
This is a participle phrase.