Gerund: Overview

Table Of Contents:

Gerunds are words that has an -ing ending. Although they look like present participles, they perform specific functions in a sentence.

Note that gerunds are formed with verbs but act as nouns. And, because they act like nouns, you can use them anywhere that a noun would normally go 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

Spelling rules

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:

Gerund: Functions in a Sentence

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