Gerunds are words that has an -ing ending. Although they look like present participles, they perform specific functions in a sentence.
Gerunds and gerund phrases often act as subjects in the sentence:
- Swimming is good for you. (this sounds better than ‘To swim is good for you’).
- Flying is faster than walking.
- Reading books is a good way to learn more. (a gerund phrase).
To form Gerunds, add ‘-ing’ to the base form of the verb:
- To play → playing
- To hide → hiding
- To swim → swimming
Regular verbs with a silent ‘-e’ at the end: change the ‘-e’ to ‘-ing’:
- To choose → choosing
- To glide → gliding
Verbs with ‘-ie’ at the end: change ‘-ie’ to ‘-ying’:
- To lie → lying
- To tie → tying
If the verb ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant and the final syllable is stressed, double the last consonant and add ‘-ing’:
- To for’get → forgetting
- To ‘swim → swimming
But don’t do that with ‘-x’ or ‘-w’:
- To relax → relaxing
- To blow → blowing
Learn more about gerund and gerund phrases in our video:
Gerunds and gerund phrases can also be used as direct or indirect objects, objects of prepositions, and predicate nouns. You can learn more about this here: