Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Gerunds (-ing )

When a verb ends in -ing, it

may be a gerund or a present

participle. It is important to

understand that they are not

the same.

When we use a verb in -ing

form more like a noun , it is

usually a gerund:

Fishing is fun.

When we use a verb in -ing

form more like a verb or an

adjective, it is usually a

present participle:

Anthony is fishing .

I have a boring teacher.

Gerunds are sometimes

called "verbal nouns".

Gerunds as Subject, Object

or Complement

Try to think of gerunds as

verbs in noun form.

Like nouns, gerunds can be

the subject, object or

complement of a sentence:

Smoking costs a lot of


I don't like writing.

My favourite occupation

is reading.

But, like a verb, a gerund can

also have an object itself. In

this case, the whole

expression [gerund + object]

can be the subject, object or

complement of the sentence.

Smoking cigarettes

costs a lot of money.

I don't like writing

letters .

My favourite occupation

is reading detective

stories .

Like nouns, we can use

gerunds with adjectives

(including articles and other


pointless questioning

a settling of debts

the making of Titanic

his drinking of alcohol

But when we use a gerund

with an article, it does not

usually take a direct object:

a settling of debts ( not a

settling debts)

Making "Titanic" was


The making of "Titanic"

was expensive.

Do you see the difference in

these two sentences? In one,

"reading" is a gerund (noun).

In the other "reading" is a

present participle (verb).

My favourite occupation

is reading.

My favourite niece

Gerunds after Prepositions

This is a good rule. It has no


If we want to use a verb

after a preposition, it must

be a gerund. It is impossible

to use an infinitive after a

preposition. So for example,

we say:

I will call you after

arriving at the office.

Please have a drink

before leaving.

I am looking forward to

meeting you.

Do you object to working


Tara always dreams

about going on holiday.

Notice that you could replace

all the above gerunds with

"real" nouns:

I will call you after my

arrival at the office.

Please have a drink

before your departure.

I am looking forward to

our lunch.

Do you object to this job?

Tara always dreams

about holidays.

The above rule has no


So why is "to" followed by

"driving" in 1 and by "drive" in


1. I am used to driving

on the left.

2. I used to drive on the


Gerunds after Certain


We sometimes use one verb

after another verb. Often the

second verb is in the infinitive

form, for example:

I want to eat .

But sometimes the second

verb must be in gerund form,

for example:

I dislike eating .

This depends on the first

verb . Here is a list of verbs

that are usually followed by a

verb in gerund form:

admit, appreciate, avoid,

carry on, consider, defer,

delay, deny, detest,

dislike, endure, enjoy,

escape, excuse, face, feel

like, finish, forgive, give

up, can't help, imagine,

involve, leave off,

mention, mind, miss,

postpone, practise, put

off, report, resent, risk,

can't stand, suggest,


Look at these examples:

She is considering having

a holiday.

Do you feel like going


I can't help falling in love

with you.

I can't stand not seeing


Some verbs can be followed

by the gerund form or the

infinitive form without a big

change in meaning: begin,

continue, hate, intend, like,

love, prefer, propose, start

I like to play tennis.

I like playing tennis.

It started to rain.

It started raining.

Gerunds in Passive Sense

We often use a gerund after

the verbs need, require and

want . In this case, the gerund

has a passive sense.

I have three shirts that

need washing . (need to

be washed)

This letter requires

signing. (needs to be


The house wants

repainting . (needs to be


The expression "something

wants doing" is not normally

used in American English.

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