The Gerund and Its Manifestation in the English Language

Girl Writes a Sentence

General Information

A simple gerund is a verb with the ending -ing, e.g. seeing, buying.

It was so nice seeing you.

Buying online can be dangerous.

NB: There are some spelling rules for the ing-form.

We normally leave out “e” before ing, e.g. loselosing.

We double some consonants, e.g. stopstopping.

! 1. A gerund is sometimes referred to as an ing-form. But not all ing-forms are gerunds. An ing-form can also be an active participle.

Gerund: Swimming is not my cup of tea.

Participle: A man was swimming in the river.

The gerund and participle both end in -ing, but a gerund is used like a noun. There are some contexts where it is difficult to say whether an ing-form is a gerund or a participle. But it is more important to use the form correctly than to name it.

2. In some contexts, we can use either a gerund or a to-infinitive.

It was so nice seeing you./It was so nice to see you.

But there are also patterns where only one of the forms is possible.

Save money by buying online.

Forms of the Gerund

Active Passive
Simple: playing being played
Perfect: having played having been played

A perfect gerund refers to something before the time of the main clause.

The girl gave no sign of having understood.

It is often possible to use a simple gerund instead of a perfect gerund.

He remembered having eaten here before.

he remembered eating here before.

The customers were compensated for having been treated impolitely.

The customers were compensated for being treated impolitely.

Gerund Clauses

Word Gerund Written on Paper

A gerund can have an object or complement, and it can have one or more adverbials. The gerund together with such phrases is called a gerund clause.

No one likes eating spinach.

Being a manager implies that you are always in a hurry.

Going on holiday always makes me feel excited.

A gerund clause can be just a gerund on its own.

Do you like reading?

A gerund can have s subject. It comes before the gerund.

I hate people laughing too loud.

We completely rely on our parents financing us.

The subject can be possessive, especially my, your, etc. or a name with ’s.

It is unfair treating me like this.

Do not you mind me speaking to you?

I can’t but be nervous because of Laura’s bullying.

*a possessive is more likely at the beginning of a sentence.

Treating me like this is unfair.

Because of Laura’s bullying, I can’t but be nervous.

Some Patterns with the Gerund

Gerund Clause as Subject

The gerund clause can be the subject of a sentence.

Building is hard work.

Keeping all information in a cloud is a perfect idea.

Choosing the university will not be as ABC.

In subject position, the gerund is much more usual than the to-infinitive. To choose the university is possible but less likely. We can also use “it” as the subject and put the gerund clause at or near the end of the sentence.

It will not be easy choosing the university.

But the to-infinitive is more usual after “it.”

It will be not easy to choose the university

It is a good idea to keep all information in a cloud.\

It, There, and Have

After the subject “it” we generally use a to-infinitive rather than a gerund. But there are certain expressions where a gerund is commonly used.

It is no good arguing. I have already taken a decision.

It might be worth thinking one more time.

It would not be much use trying to stick the pieces together.

It was quite an experience studying abroad.

It is a nuisance living without a mobile phone.

It is fun going out with friends.

After experience, fun, and use we can sometimes use a to-infinitive.

It was quite an experience to study abroad.

It is fun to go out with friends.

We can use a gerund after thereproblem/difficulty and therepoints.

There will not be any problem booking.

There is no point just sitting here doing nothing.

Gerund Clause as Complement

The gerund clause can be a complement after be.

What I suffer from is not being able to say you what I actually think.

The last performance is singing a folk song.

Verb and Gerund

Gerund Meme

There are certain verbs which take a gerund (rather than a to-infinitive).

These people keep coming to me every day.

Would you mind living alone for a month?

Verb + Object and Gerund

We can use a gerund after a verb with an object.

I cannot imagine anyone watching this tv-show.

How can they justify they being present at the lesson?

The arrangements imply you giving three other people a lift.

We can also use a possessive form:

The arrangements imply your giving three people a lift.

Some verbs can take either an object + gerund or an object + to-infinitive. They are hate, love, prefer, and can’t bear. However, we use imagine and understand with a gerund.

I just could not imagine you sitting next to him.

John cannot understand people behaving glaringly.

We use them in a to-infinitive pattern when they mean “believe.”

Preposition with Gerund

We sometimes use a gerund after a preposition.

I learned all night long without stopping.

We cannot use a to-infinitive after a preposition, and we cannot use a that-clause.

We can use a gerund after these prepositions.

after by in addition to since
against by means of in favor of through
as a result of despite in spite of what about
because of far from in the process of with
as for for instead of without
as well as from on
because of how about on account of
before in on the point of

NB: We can use the conjunctions before, after, and since in a finite clause.

Please switch off the lights before you sleep.

The new medicine was offered in the marker after it was approved by the special group of specialists.

Here, we provided main information regarding a gerund and its usage with different speech parts. We hope that this article was useful for you.

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