What is a gerund? Definitions and Examples

A gerund is the “ing form” of the verb and functions as a noun. We call them verbal nouns also. We add ing to the end of the base form of the verb. Example: I like speaking English.  In this sentence, speaking is a gerund that functions as a noun in the sentence. The main verb of the sentence is like.

a gerund

Usages of a gerund in the sentence:

1) Subject Complements:

The gerund can be used as subject complements. Like Her aim is dancing. In this sentence, the word dancing is gerund which is the complement of the auxiliary verb “is”.
More examples:

  • Their aim had been watching.
  • My aim has been playing football.
  • His favorite game is playing piano.
  • The man’s first view was jumping for the roof.
  • John’s hobby is swimming.

2) Nouns As Subject:

We can use a gerund as the subject of the sentence too. For example: speaking English is my aim. In this sentence, Speaking is the gerund which occurs as a subject and functions as a noun. Check out more examples.

The Parts of speech
What is the simple present tense?

  • Negotiating is my first rule.
  • Smoking is dangerous for health.
  • Washing the clothes is her turn.
  • Driving fast is not allowed on the road.
  • Gaming is his best choice.
  • Fighting has been banned in the new park.  

3. Direct Object:

It can occur as the direct object of the verb also. Like she likes driving fast. In this sentence, driving is a direct object of the verb likes. More examples:

  • I have been interested in finding the paper for years.
  • They want reading the book to be first on the test.
  • She knows knocking on the door well.
  • Can she find his driver’s license for him?
  • Mehdi enjoys working more than spending time with his friends.

4) Indirect object:

Gerund functions as an indirect object like: I don’t know plugging the flowers. In this sentence plugging is the indirect object of the verb know. And the direct object is plovers. More examples:

  • The teacher gave reading all the time.
  • My father likes watering the garden on time.
  • He knows the man cooking delicious food.
  • The cook found the man cooking delicious food.
  • I don’t like working for him.
  • Akram gives studying all of her energy and time.

5. Objects of prepositions: How to use gerunds as objects of prepositions? Like: I am afraid of swimming in the sea. In this sentence ‘swimming’ is the object of prepositions ‘of’ which is a gerund. More examples.

  • She was worried about speaking in public.
  • The man had been best at making stylish doors.
  • The teachers are perfect at teaching the class.
  • All the men are struggling for money.
  • Struggling will make us achieve our goals.  
  • He is the best at learning mathematics.

Note: Don’t mix up Gerund with participles.