If you have been asked what is your favorite activity, you might have answered with a gerund like reading, singing, jogging, traveling, skiing, or dancing. Gerunds are verb forms that end in -ing and act as nouns in a sentence. It takes six functions in English grammar. In this blog, we will discuss the definition of gerunds, their functions, and how to use them in a sentence.

What is a Gerund?

A gerund is one of the non-finite verb forms that function as a verbal noun. As such, it is formed by using a verb as its base form and adding the suffix ‘-ing- on its end to function as a noun. In short, a gerund follows the formula verb + ing and takes the function of a noun in a sentence.

Here are five examples of gerunds:

Base VerbGerund FormExample Sentence
burnburningBurning trash is detrimental to the environment.
talktalkingJune loves talking about his favorite movies.
exerciseexercisingMy sister tried exercising every morning.
narratenarratingTheo was reprimanded for narrating the stories wrongly.
useusingAly didn’t like her sister’s using her shirt without asking permission.
Table of Gerund Examples
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Gerund Rules

Unlike other verbal, gerund does not have an exception to the rule that it is formed by adding ‘-ing’ at the end of a verb. Hence, all gerunds follow the form verb + ing. 

Here are ten examples of gerunds:

  1. swim – swimming
  2. bake – baking
  3. move – moving
  4. write – writing
  5. learn – learning
  6. reach – reaching
  7. offer – offering
  8. follow – following
  9. pay – paying
  10. call – calling

The table below shows the six functions of gerunds:

Uses of GerundsExplanationExamples
Gerund as subjectAn object of preposition completes the meaning of a preposition that cannot stand on its own. A gerund is an object of preposition if it is beside a preposition.Paying your bills on time is a must.

Baking is her favorite hobby.
Gerund as direct objectA direct object is the receiver of an action word (verb). Hence, as a direct object, gerunds follow a verb.Felicia dislikes dyeing her hair.

He loves skiing during winter.
Gerund as indirect objectAn indirect object receives a direct object. It can be found before or after a direct object in a sentence.Solen made painting her bread and butter.

My mother taught him cooking techniques.
Gerund as subject complementA subject complement describes the subject. Gerunds as subject complements are usually found after linking verbs. Tom’s favorite pastime is walking around the park.

It seems dancing is her passion.
Gerund as object complementAn object complement is a noun phrase that describes or renames a direct object.Diane considers animal cruelty neglecting one’s pet even just for an hour. (animal cruelty = neglecting one’s pet even just for an hour)

Arnel called her report being a success. (her report = being a success)
Gerund as object of prepositionAn object of preposition completes the meaning of a preposition which cannot stand on its own. A gerund is an object of preposition if it is beside a preposition.The accountant guided me toward taking the appropriate approach to filing my taxes.

She went on jogging every day to improve her health.
Table of Rules for Gerunds
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Examples of Gerund

Here are twenty examples of gerunds in sentences:

  1. The students enjoyed writing their essays for the competition.
  2. John’s hobby is collecting stamps from different countries.
  3. The family spent the weekend camping in the woods.
  4. Singing in the shower helps me relax.
  5. My brother loves playing video games in his free time.
  6. The children were excited about going on a picnic.
  7. I enjoy reading books in my free time.
  8. He hates waiting in line at the store.
  9. We had a great time watching the fireworks show last night.
  10. Taking care of a garden is a lot of work.
  11. My dad likes fishing on the weekends.
  12. Fatima is good at arranging flowers.
  13. I don’t mind doing the dishes after dinner.
  14. My aunt is fond of knitting sweaters for her family.
  15. Between staying at home and going out, I prefer the latter.
  16. Avery made achieving her goals her priority.
  17. The teacher considers her artwork showing mastery of the subject.
  18. Donita captured the athlete’s skiing tricks on her camera.
  19. Ms. Castro loves teaching her students world literature.
  20. They focused on slowly building their business.

Gerund Exercises with Answers

Convert the base verb into its gerund form and use it in a sentence following the indicated use in the table. Model answers will be provided.

Base VerbGerund FormUsageExample Sentence
sell1. Gerund as direct object7. 
eat2. Gerund as subject8.
manage3. Gerund as subject complement9. 
know4. Gerund as object of preposition10. 
deviate5. Gerund as object complement11. 
wash6. Gerund as indirect object12. 
Gerund Exercise Worksheet

Model Answers:

Base VerbGerund FormUsage Example Sentence
sell1. sellingGerund as direct object7. He enjoyed selling lemonade as a kid.
eat2. eatingGerund as subject8. Eating vegetables is healthy.
manage3. managingGerund as subject complement9. Erika’s core strength is managing marketing projects.
know4. knowingGerund as object of preposition10. They are keen on knowing what happened during the meeting.
deviate5. deviatingGerund as object complement11. The people call his lies deviating from his mandate to serve with honesty.
wash6. washingGerund as indirect object12. She told the kid washing one’s hands before eating is important.
Model Answers for Exercise on Gerunds
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Gerund List

List of Gerunds
driving resting
hiking traveling
Gerunds Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

English grammar, like any language, is a complex subject to study. Understanding and applying grammar rules can be challenging, especially for English language learners. However, your success in learning the language is dependent on your learning plan.

First, know that there are different levels of language proficiency. Knowing your status allows you to align it with your study materials and learning strategy. To keep your motivation, select beginner-friendly materials instead of university textbooks when starting. In doing so, you will feel less intimidated by the topics you should learn.

Second, focus on the basics: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Learn how to use them correctly in sentences and understand their meaning. It will help you build a strong foundation for your English language learning journey. Divide those topics into subtopics and learn each concept and rule one by one.

Third, find a reliable source of learning materials. Online resources such as websites, blogs, and YouTube videos are mostly free. LillyPad’s blog, for example, is a great resource for English language learning materials. Additionally, you can find books and other printed materials in your local library or bookstore.

Fourth, practice speaking the language with native speakers or other English learners. It will help you understand how to use the language correctly in conversations and improve your pronunciation.

Finally, be patient with yourself and don’t give up. Learning a language takes time and effort, so set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand nouns and nouns definition and examples.

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Common Errors Made by English Learners

Learning a new language can be difficult, and English is no exception. Even experienced English learners make mistakes when speaking or writing in the language. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by English learners:

Common MistakeWhy it HappensCorrectionExamples
Confusing gerunds with participlesGerunds and the present participle form of the verb look the same as both ends in -ing. This is tricky for learners to differentiate.The present participle is used to form the progressive verb tense. Meanwhile, gerunds function as nouns. 

A verb with an “-ing” ending is a participle when it functions as the main verb of a sentence.

In contrast, it is a gerund when it takes the form of a noun.
Present Participle: He will be reporting the results tomorrow.

Gerund: His reporting of the problem helped us act quickly.

Present Participle: I am voting for the competent candidate.

Gerund: Voting or the right to suffrage is a basic human right. 
Not practicing parallelism when using two or more gerunds in a sentence.Faulty parallelism happens when learners switch from one grammatical structure to other. In this case, they tend to switch from using gerunds to infinitive forms.Stick to one grammatical structure, especially when using more than one gerund in a sentence.Incorrect: Painting and to sing are my talents.

Trusting, understanding, and to care are what makes a relationship healthy.

Correct: Painting and singing are my talents.

Trusting, understanding, and caring are what make a relationship healthy.
Gerunds Common Errors Table
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Learning Strategies and Best Practices for Gerunds

A holistic approach to learning a language makes it easier to understand and remember. The five macro skills, reading, listening, viewing, speaking, and writing, should be developed and used in the learning process for better language acquisition. The table below lists activities you can do when learning linking verbs:

Learning Strategies
Reading– Use flashcards to know basic English sight words and their meaning.
– Search for material that contains translations of common expressions from your native language to English.
– Select study materials appropriate for your language proficiency.
Listening– Listen to an audiobook or a song and write what you hear to improve your retention of English words.
– Compare and contrast two audio materials like TV ads and a speech.
– Summarize a podcast, movie, audiobook, and other English audio materials.
Viewing– Observe how native speakers speak and try to mimic it.
– Watch English movies, interviews, and tutorials.
– Use pictographs to learn and remember new words.
Speaking– Join a community of English language learners and communicate with them to improve and gain feedback.
– Integrate the language into your daily life and try to speak using English.
– Participate in speech organizations (e.g. debate clubs, theatre groups)
Writing– Write a journal of your learning journey in English.
– Answer practice tests and create your own sentences.
– Create a reflection essay on the media you watch or listen to.
Gerunds Learning Strategies Table
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Gerunds Frequently Asked Questions

Gerunds are easy to identify, for they always follow the formula base verb + ing. In a sentence, it functions as a noun and can be used as a subject, object, or complement of a sentence.

He enjoys singing. (Gerund used as an object)
Singing is his favorite hobby. (Gerund used as a subject)
His of showing affection is singing. (Gerund as a complement)

Gerunds are verbal nouns that follow the rule “verb + ing” and must function as a noun in a sentence.

As one of the non-finite verb forms, all gerunds end in ‘ing.’ It means that they are not used to form verb tenses.

No. Both the gerund form and infinitive form are verbal. However, gerunds are used as nouns, while infinitives are used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. Another difference is their formation or conjugation. While a gerund adds ‘ing’ at the end of a verb, an infinitive uses “to + base verb.”

Here are a few examples:
Cooking is an essential life skill. (Gerund)
My father taught me how to cook. (Infinitive)
Walter loves listening to podcasts every morning. (Gerund)
He told me to listen to my instinct. (Infinitive)

No, gerunds and present participles are not the same. While both ends in ‘ing,’ gerunds function as nouns; present participles form the continuous or progressive verb tense. “Importing goods contribute to economic growth” uses importing as a gerund. In contrast, “He will be importing goods from abroad” uses importing as a present participle.

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Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

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What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! Lilly’s a personal English tutor, and has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving your English easy. With Lilly, you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating!

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At LillyPad, everything we do is focused on delivering a personalized journey that is meaningful and life-changing for our members. LillyPad isn’t just the next chapter in English learning…

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