ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Online Writing Courses: Gerunds

Updated on August 30, 2013

improve writing skills and English grammar with free online writing classes

Welcome to another lesson in my free online writing courses. The main purpose of my online writing classes is to help students with writing the English language and English grammar, but some adult writers might find them helpful, also – especially as a reminder. If you want to be taken seriously as a freelance writer, you can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes with grammar and mechanics. Improving your writing skills will definitely make you more marketable. If you’re a student, my online writing classes will provide some remediation. If English is your second language, you should benefit from some of my online writing courses, too.

I’ve seen numerous problems with gerunds – especially when I was teaching writing skills. That’s the reason I decided to include this entry into my free online writing classes.

What’s a gerund?

A gerund is an –ing verb form that functions as a noun. We use them all the time, and they can function as subjects, subject complements, appositives, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.

Gerunds as subjects:

Horseback riding is my favorite activity.

Shopping is hectic this time of year.

Asking questions is not permitted.

Exercising is a good way to keep in shape.

Gerunds as subject complements:

My favorite sport is fishing.

Her goal was finishing the race.

His dream was becoming a minister.

His highest achievement was winning the award.

Gerunds as appositives:

My favorite sport, fishing, can be expensive.

Her goal, finishing the race, was almost impossible.

His dream, becoming a minister, will be difficult for him.

His highest achievement, winning the award, was applauded by his followers.

Gerunds as direct objects:

Johnny hates jogging.

I enjoy fishing.

She tried drinking beer, but she didn’t like the taste.

Most primary teachers like interacting with children.

Gerunds as indirect objects:

I gave his writing a good grade.

I give fishing my full attention.

The academy awarded her acting the Oscar.

The coach offered Don’s debating a few tips.

Gerunds as object of preposition:

I got stopped for speeding.

I need some tips for writing.

He offered some help with swimming.

The professor gave me some great advice about reading.

Gerunds and possession

Since gerunds function as nouns, they often show possession. This is where many people make mistakes with gerunds.

Dad came to the pool to watch me swimming. incorrect

Dad came to the pool to watch my swimming. Correct

I appreciate you asking me to the party. incorrect

I appreciate your asking me to the party. Correct

Sometimes you have to consider the overall meaning of the sentence when trying to decide to use the possessive form with a gerund:

I hate Jim playing guitar.

I hate Jim’s playing guitar.

Do you hate Jim? If so, the first sentence is correct. Do you hate to hear Jim playing the guitar? In that case, the second sentence would be correct.

Johnny didn’t like the toddler sitting next to him.

Johnny didn’t like the toddler’s sitting next to him.

In the first sentence, Johnny didn’t like the toddler – the one who was sitting next to him. In the second sentence, Johnny didn’t like that the toddler was sitting next to him. He might actually like the toddler.

When the noun before the gerund is plural or collective, it’s usually best not to use the possessive form:

The group working together was an excellent strategy.

The students studying intensely was a wonderful sight.

Improve writing skills and English grammar with practice!

If all this sounds “Greek” to you, take it one step at a time. Don’t try to improve writing skills all at once. Focus on one skill until you have it mastered. If, for example, you’re trying to improve writing skills by using gerunds correctly, make up a few of your own sentences where the gerunds function as subjects. Then move on the subject complements, appositives, direct objects, and so on. The more you practice effective writing, the more your writing skills will improve.

I have several more free online writing courses posted, if you’re interested. You can view them by clicking the links below. Happy writing!

Improve writing skills with my free online writing classes.
Improve writing skills with my free online writing classes.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • geetbhim profile image

      sangeeta verma 

      8 years ago from Ludhiana India

      Thanks for sharing, your knowledge it really helps.

    • AnkushKohli profile image

      Ankush Kohli 

      9 years ago from India

      Great help and resource for people with non-english background like me.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hi, you guys, indeed cute skills for enhancing writing skills.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Speed, so glad you found the writing tips helpful!

    • speedbird profile image


      9 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks Habee for sharing the links to free online writing courses. I will try one and see how it goes, I really need to improve on my writing. Thanks for sharing you knowledge

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Matherese, thanks so much! Have you checked out my other online writing courses?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you Habee this is a really good hub. I will improve my wrting with that.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      HH, move to the front of the class!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      I am glad and grateful for doing this. I definitely makes it more clearer which helps. Thank you, Holle.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Caroline, thanks for attending my online writing courses!

      Slim, many thanks for the kudos!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, Kim - both are correct. Thanks for reading!

    • slim_helmi profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, thank you so much. What an awesome idea.

    • CarolineVABC profile image


      9 years ago from Castaic

      Thank you for sharing tips for better writing-these are excellent!!! Everyone needs to improve their writing. Keep at it. God bless!

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      9 years ago

      I don't think I use gerunds as subject complements very often. I think there are better ways to express an idea without using (or without the use of) a gerund. For example, I would say, "His goal was to learn..." vs "His goal was learning..." I hope the other way is correct! I do pride myself on proper use of English language!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Drbj, I always love reading your comments! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Rich, glad you found it helpful!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      HP, great to see you here!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      LL, many thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, tnderhrt. Hope you find my other online writing courses helpful!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      And I always thought gerunds were those cute lil animals that run around on treadmills in their cute lil cages. Oh, yes, I remember, Holle. Those are gerbils.

      Thanks you for this explanation of gerunds. I find that often I don't know my gerund from a hole in . . . well, you get my drift. :)

    • richtwf profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent hub on gerunds and it was a good reminder for me too!

      Cheers Habee and God bless!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is a useful hub for improving writing skills.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      9 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Another useful reminder to improve writing skills.

    • tnderhrt23 profile image


      9 years ago

      I wasn't exactly sure what a gerund was, which is why I was drawn to read your hub, and I found a very informative, interesting, understandable explanation along with examples. Great job! I will definitely check out your other online writing classes! Rated up!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)