What Is a Gerund? Definition & Examples of Gerunds
What is a Gerund?
A gerund is a type of verb that ends in -ing and functions like a noun and a verb. It is also called a verbal noun. Take a look at the following sentences:
- Swimming is prohibited in this river.
- Hunting is allowed in this river.
- He is fond of singing songs.
- She likes writing poetry.
A gerund has a dual function. In some cases, it is a noun, while in other cases it is a verb. For example, in the 1st and 2nd sentences, the gerunds function like nouns, while in the 3rdand 4th sentences, they function like verbs. That’s why; they are called verbal nouns.
Use of Gerunds
Firstly, it is used as a subject of the verb in a sentence. Take a look at the following sentences, wherein the gerund is used as a subject of the verb:
- Seeing is believing.
- Swimming was his favourite hobby.
- Hikingis dangerous here.
Secondly, a gerund is also sued as an object of the verb in a sentence. Consider the following examples:
- He likes hiking.
- I hate cooking.
- They were found watching a movie in the cinema.
Thirdly, a gerund is used as an object of preposition. Take a look at the following sentences, wherein the gerund is placed after the preposition:
- She is fond of hunting.
- They were barred from playing here.
- He was punished for stealing his book.
Fourthly, a gerund is used as a complement of the verb in a sentence. Consider the following sentences, wherein the gerund acts as a complement of the verb:
- Seeing is believing.
- The hobby that I love is swimming.
- The thing that disturbs me is listening to pop music.
What is a Gerund Phrase?
A phrase that consists of a gerund is called a gerund phrase. A gerund phrase is just like a noun. It acts like a subject of the sentence. Take a look at the following sentences, wherein the highlighted words are gerund phrases:
- Walking phantoms in the graveyard scared him.
- Flying birds looked beautiful in the evening.
- Reading newspapers augments my knowledge.
- Knocking at the door will surprise you.
Difference between Gerunds & Present Participles
Sometimes, it’s very difficult to differentiate between a gerund and a present participle. Though, the present participle and gerund end in –ing, yet they are different from each other. A present participle functions like a verb and an adjective, while a gerund acts like a noun and a verb. Take a look at the following sentences:
- The sizzling oil spilt over the dish.
- Reading poetry is my favourit hobby.
In the first sentence, the word sizzling modifies the noun oil and acts like an adjective. That’s why; it is a present participle. If we look at the second sentence, the word reading is used as a noun and acts like a subject. That’s why; it is a gerund. Similarly, in He is reading a book the word reading is a main verb. That’s why; it is a present participle. In He likes swimming the word swimming is used as an object of the verb like. That’s why; it is a gerund.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq