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GERUND: What is a Gerund? Important Gerund Examples

GERUND: What is a Gerund? Important Gerund Examples

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What is a gerund? Important gerund examples in English! This page provides the definition of gerund and gerund examples for ESL learners to master their English grammar.

Understanding Gerunds


Definition of Gerunds

A gerund is a verb form ending in -ing that functions as a noun. It is formed by adding -ing to the base form of a regular verb.

Formation of Gerunds

To create a gerund, we simply take the base form of a verb and append the suffix -ing. Here’s a quick reference:

Base Verb Gerund
walk walking
explore exploring
read reading

Functions of Gerunds 

Gerunds can play multiple roles within a sentence:

  • As Subjects: Walking is a good exercise.
  • As Objects: We enjoy reading.
  • As Complements: His favorite activity is swimming.
  • After Prepositions: They talked about traveling.

Usage of Gerunds

In our discussion on gerunds, we’ll focus on how these versatile -ing forms of verbs function as nouns in different capacities within a sentence.

Gerunds as Subjects

When we use gerunds as subjects, we allow an action to take center stage in the sentence. For example:

  • Reading is an excellent way to spend your time.
  • Swimming has been proven to improve cardiovascular health.

Gerunds as Objects

Just as typical nouns can be objects, so can gerunds. They often follow action verbs and answer the question “What?”. Observe these cases:

  • We enjoy reading before bed.
  • They discussed moving to a new city.

Gerunds After Prepositions

After prepositions, we rely on gerunds to carry the meaning of actions. Look at these examples:

  • They talked about traveling.
  • She is good at dancing.

Gerunds in Compound Nouns

Gerunds sometimes partner with other words to form compound nouns, where they describe a specific object or activity:

  • swimming pool is a place designed for swimming.
  • Running shoes are footwear made for the activity of running.

Verbs Followed by Gerunds

List of verbs followed by gerunds in English.

Verb + Gerund

  • acknowledge
  • discuss
  • dislike
  • endure
  • enjoy
  • go
  • imagine
  • anticipate
  • defend
  • deny
  • appreciate
  • consider
  • detest
  • involve
  • keep
  • mention
  • quit
  • recall
  • recollect
  • recommend
  • omit
  • postpone
  • practice
  • prevent
  • regret
  • resent
  • risk
  • suggest
  • tolerate
  • understand
  • resist
  • resume

Verb + Preposition + Gerund

  • adapt to
  • apologize for
  • believe in
  • blame for
  • care about
  • approve of
  • ask about
  • engage in
  • forgive for
  • give up
  • work on
  • worry about
  • put off
  • take part in
  • help with
  • complain about
  • consist of
  • succeed in
  • suffer from
  • talk about
  • disapprove of
  • discourage from
  • look forward to
  • participate in
  • persist in
  • plan on
  • result from
  • prepare for
  • profit from
  • prohibit from
  • think about
  • warn about
  • there’s no point in

Be + Adjective + Preposition + Gerund

  • be accustomed to
  • be happy about
  • be interested in
  • be afraid of
  • be concerned with
  • be critical of
  • be useful for
  • be worried about
  • be discouraged from
  • be angry about
  • be ashamed of
  • be capable of
  • be certain about
  • be enthusiastic about
  • be familiar with
  • be famous for
  • be fond of
  • be known for
  • be nervous about
  • be perfect for
  • be proud of
  • be glad about
  • be tolerant of
  • be upset about
  • be good at
  • be responsible for
  • be sad about
  • be successful in
  • be suitable for
  • be tired of
  • be used to

Interactive Exercises

Exercise 1: Identifying Gerunds in Sentences

Determine whether the highlighted word in each sentence is a gerund. Write “Yes” if it is a gerund, and “No” if it is not.

  1. I enjoy swimming in the ocean.
  2. They are running to catch the bus.
  3. My favorite hobby is painting landscapes.
  4. She avoided talking to him after the argument.
  5. The cat keeps jumping on the table.
  6. Winning the championship is their ultimate goal.
  7. He stopped to help her with tying her shoelaces.
  8. Laughing is a good stress reliever.
  9. Are you interested in learning a new language?
  10. The bird was singing outside my window.


  1. Yes (swimming)
  2. No (running is part of the verb phrase “are running”)
  3. Yes (painting)
  4. Yes (talking)
  5. No (jumping is part of the verb phrase “keeps jumping”)
  6. Yes (winning)
  7. Yes (tying)
  8. Yes (laughing)
  9. Yes (learning)
  10. No (singing is part of the verb phrase “was singing”)

Exercise 2: Choose the Correct Gerund Form

Choose the correct gerund form of the verb in parentheses to complete each sentence.

  1. I find (to read / reading) very relaxing.
  2. She mentioned (to have / having) seen that movie before.
  3. We discussed (to go / going) on a trip next summer.
  4. He admitted (to cheat / cheating) on the exam.
  5. They are looking forward to (to visit / visiting) us next weekend.
  6. Avoid (to make / making) loud noises in the library.
  7. She can’t stand (to be / being) in a messy room.
  8. My brother is good at (to fix / fixing) cars.
  9. They kept (to talk / talking) during the entire movie.
  10. I am interested in (to learn / learning) how to bake.


  1. reading
  2. having
  3. going
  4. cheating
  5. visiting
  6. making
  7. being
  8. fixing
  9. talking
  10. learning

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary functions of a gerund in a sentence?

Gerunds serve six key functions in a sentence: as a subject, direct object, subject complement, object of a preposition, appositive, or occasionally as a noun modifier. Their versatility allows them to fit into many different grammatical roles.

Can you provide some examples of sentences where gerunds are used as the subject?

Certainly! Here are a couple:

  • “Swimming is a great way to stay fit.”
  • “Reading enriches the mind.”

What’s the difference between a gerund and a participle?

A gerund functions as a noun, whereas a participle acts as an adjective to modify nouns or pronouns. For example, in ‘Learning is fun’, ‘learning’ is a gerund serving as the subject. In contrast, ‘The learning child was curious’, ‘learning’ is a present participle modifying ‘child’.

How can I recognize a gerund when reading or constructing a sentence?

A gerund can be recognized by its -ing ending and its function in the sentence as a noun. It can usually be replaced with another noun without altering the sentence structure significantly.

Could you explain the different types of gerunds and their uses?

Gerunds can be simple or possessive. A simple gerund, like ‘dancing’, can act as the subject, object, or complement. A possessive gerund, such as ‘my dancing’, shows ownership and is most commonly used when the gerund has a modifier.

What are some tips for using gerunds correctly in English grammar?

To use gerunds correctly, remember that they should not be confused with present participles, they always end in -ing, and they cannot be pluralized. Always check if the -ing word is acting as a noun in the sentence to confirm it’s indeed a gerund.

AbuWael Al Abbas

Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Useful lesson . . Thank you so much . . .


Monday 24th of October 2022

it's has been very helpful for me in understanding this area of grammar. thanks-

Omonefe Ariyo

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Good grammar in English

Mekides Mengesha

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

thank you.

mr potatohead

Wednesday 17th of March 2021