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A gerund is a verbal noun, which is a form of verb that always ends in –ing and functions as a noun.

A gerund often follows a verb, and a preposition does not come between the gerund and the verb.

Examples:

  • They discussed getting married. (Not: They discussed to getting married.)
  • I like walking in the rain.
  • The dog stopped barking when I gave it a bone.
  • He has just finished quarrelling with his wife.
  • The prince has consistently denied murdering his wife.

 

Gerund is used as a subject in a sentence.

Examples:

  • Washing his care is something he hates most.
  • Watching television to some is a waste of time.
  • Attending church is not something the family does often.
  • Smoking is bad for your health.
  • Working in a foreign country can be very difficult.
  • Learning a foreign language can be a real challenge.
  • Skipping to her is a better alternative to jogging.

 

Gerund used as an object in a sentence.

Examples:

  • She prefers any of the household chores to mopping.
  • Her sister does not like cooking.
  • Her everyday exercise includes deep breathing.

 

Gerund comes after a preposition.

Examples:

  • He is addicted to playing online games.
  • His parents were well accustomed to working hard.
  • She is very excited about meeting him for the first time.
  • Jane is very pleased with getting the desired exam results.
  • Many will remember them for winning the first gold medal for the country.
  • We apologized for arriving late.
  • John has become interested in catching scorpions for fun.
  • Jack looks forward to running his own loan shark business.

 

Gerund comes after conjunctions.

Examples:

  • Mr Black usually says a prayer for world peace before going to bed.
  • Mrs White still looks quite scared after watching two crocodiles fight in her dream.
  • I have learned to be careful since knocking my head against the wall.

 

Gerund follows an adjective.

Examples:

  • The police are still trying to establish a motive for the cold-blooded killing.
  • The new stadium has got very bright lighting.
  • This boy never cries whenever he gets a severe scolding from his parents.

 

Gerund may come before another noun.

Examples:

  • The sitting room is where she relaxes.
  • It is so much fun to be at the swimming pool.
  • Someone took all my gardening tools from my garden.
  • One of the folding legs of the ironing board is broken.
  • Although he is100 years old, he moves about without the aid of a walking stick.
  • He had a frightening dream about a fire-breathing dragon chasing him.

 

Gerund can be plural countable nouns.

Examples:

  • Airport authority has issued several warnings about pickpocket.
  • Last month, the local vicar conducted ten weddings.
  • The boy showed me his three drawings of ugly witches riding African elephants.

 

We can use ‘be used to’ / ‘get used to’ with gerund.

Examples:

  • was used to watching vultures perched on a rocky cliff, but I never have the time now.
  • Sarah is used to donating her blood at the medical centre.
  • After his wife died, he had to get used to looking after the kids on his own.

 

Gerund in a negative statement
To make a gerund negative, just add the negative word not before the gerund.

 

Examples:

  • He says not learning is the best thing in his life.
  • My not singing in the shower can make her very happy.
  • Her bad habit is not answering the phone when it rings.
  • Not marrying him is not on her mind.

 

Phrasal verb + gerund
A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition which together have its own meaning (e.g. cut down = to reduce the amount of something). The following examples show the phrasal verbs and gerunds in bold.

 

Examples:

  • Julia carried on talking even though no one was listening. (Phrasal verb: carried on)
  • Jack keeps on scratching his head and we wonder why.
  • Jan gave up driving after her car was hit by a truck.
  • He does not know when he will get around to doing the living room.
  • We stayed up late watching the horror movie last night.

 

Gerund used in other expressions

Examples:

  • It is no use crying over spilt milk.
  • This new gadget is for opening canned food.
  • Where do you usually go for fishing?
  • I must do some ironing tonight.
  • Now you regret being so rude to her.
  • If only you had stopped talking and listened to your mother.
  • We could go on dancing all night.
  • She prefers having dinner at home to eating out.
  • She thinks my hair needs shampooing.

 

When a gerund forms part of a phrase, it is called a gerund phrase. A gerund phrase may also include modifiers and complements.

Examples:

  • Weekend coastal sailing has always been his passion.
    (The gerund phrase is weekend coastal sailing.)
  • The big fat fellow with a bushy beard enjoys doing magic at children's parties.
    (The gerund phrase is doing magic at children's parties.)