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 Verb||Gerund Form||Example Sentence|
|burn||burning||Burning trash is detrimental to the environment.|
|talk||talking||June loves talking about his favorite movies.|
|exercise||exercising||My sister tried exercising every morning.|
|narrate||narrating||Theo was reprimanded for narrating the stories wrongly.|
|use||using||Aly didn’t like her sister’s using her shirt without asking permission.|
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:
- swim – swimming
- bake – baking
- move – moving
- write – writing
- learn – learning
- reach – reaching
- offer – offering
- follow – following
- pay – paying
- call – calling
The table below shows the six functions of gerunds:
|Uses of Gerunds||Explanation||Examples|
|Gerund as subject||An 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 object||A 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 object||An 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 complement||A 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 complement||An 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 preposition||An 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.
Examples of Gerund
Here are twenty examples of gerunds in sentences:
- The students enjoyed writing their essays for the competition.
- John’s hobby is collecting stamps from different countries.
- The family spent the weekend camping in the woods.
- Singing in the shower helps me relax.
- My brother loves playing video games in his free time.
- The children were excited about going on a picnic.
- I enjoy reading books in my free time.
- He hates waiting in line at the store.
- We had a great time watching the fireworks show last night.
- Taking care of a garden is a lot of work.
- My dad likes fishing on the weekends.
- Fatima is good at arranging flowers.
- I don’t mind doing the dishes after dinner.
- My aunt is fond of knitting sweaters for her family.
- Between staying at home and going out, I prefer the latter.
- Avery made achieving her goals her priority.
- The teacher considers her artwork showing mastery of the subject.
- Donita captured the athlete’s skiing tricks on her camera.
- Ms. Castro loves teaching her students world literature.
- 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 Verb||Gerund Form||Usage||Example Sentence|
|sell||1.||Gerund as direct object||7.|
|eat||2.||Gerund as subject||8.|
|manage||3.||Gerund as subject complement||9.|
|know||4.||Gerund as object of preposition||10.|
|deviate||5.||Gerund as object complement||11.|
|wash||6.||Gerund as indirect object||12.|
|Base Verb||Gerund Form||Usage||Example Sentence|
|sell||1. selling||Gerund as direct object||7. He enjoyed selling lemonade as a kid.|
|eat||2. eating||Gerund as subject||8. Eating vegetables is healthy.|
|manage||3. managing||Gerund as subject complement||9. Erika’s core strength is managing marketing projects.|
|know||4. knowing||Gerund as object of preposition||10. They are keen on knowing what happened during the meeting.|
|deviate||5. deviating||Gerund as object complement||11. The people call his lies deviating from his mandate to serve with honesty.|
|wash||6. washing||Gerund as indirect object||12. She told the kid washing one’s hands before eating is important.|
|List of Gerunds|
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.
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 Mistake||Why it Happens||Correction||Examples|
|Confusing gerunds with participles||Gerunds 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.
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:
|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 Frequently Asked Questions
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