Gerund



GERUND is the “continuous form of a verb”.

Read this sentence.

. Smoking is prohibited here.

The word “smoking” is formed from the verb smoke by adding –ing.

You can see that here in this sentence, the word “smoking” does the function of a subject (Noun). So, it is a Verb-Noun.

That is called Gerund.

On many occasions the “continuous form of the verb” can be used as a noun.

“Smoke” is the simple present-tense form.

“Smoked” is the past-tense form of the verb “smoke”.

“Smoking” is the continuous form of the verb “smoke”.

Those continuous forms of many verbs can be used as nouns.

Those nouns are called “verbal nouns”.

“GERUND” is one of the two verbal nouns.

The other verbal noun is “Infinitive”.

We have seen the “Infinitive” in another section.

Let us see “Gerund” now.

A gerund is that form of the verb which ends in –ing and has the force of a noun and a verb.

1. A gerund is used as the subject of a verb.

Examples:

• Smoking is prohibited here.

• Reading improves your knowledge.

• Running behind a running-car is dangerous.

• Walking alone is what he likes the most.

• Buying vegetables in that market is a difficult affair.

• Following others is not advisable.

You can easily see that the subjects in all these sentences are in gerund forms.

2. A gerund is used as an object of a verb.

Examples:

• Begin reading the book.

• I like going for a walk.

• They prefer buying online rather offline.

3. Object of a preposition.

Examples:

• My neighbor is good at breeding dogs.

• I am fond of eating sweets.

• Before entering the room, please remove your foot-wear.

4. Complement of a verb.

Examples:

• What I detest the most is drinking alcohol.

• Seeing is not believing.



5. A gerund is used in the following construction.

Examples:

• Nehru did a lot of reading.

• We used to do a lot of writing when we were at school.

6. Only a gerund is used after the following verbs.

Confess, imagine, finish, practice, hinder, excuse, forgive, drop, stop, prevent, mind etc…

Examples:

• Stop talking nonsense.

• I could not help admiring the picture.

• He did not mind waiting.

• I can not imagine his doing like this.

• They could not prevent her coming to the function.

7. Few verbs of sensation take the gerund-forms if the action of the verb is in progress.

Examples:

• I saw him doing that work.

• She felt an insect going up her leg.

• Have you ever heard a bird talking?

NOTE-1:

Compare the following two sentences.

1. We expected his being admitted into the university.
2. We expected him being admitted into the university.

In the first sentence, the word preceding the gerund “being” is “his”. This is in the possessive case.

While, in the second sentence, the word preceding the gerund “being” is “him”. This is in the objective case.

Both the sentences are correct to convey the same meaning.

So, we can use either possessive case or objective case before gerunds.

Examples:

All depends on John/John’s coming in time.

Your future depends on your uncle/your uncle’s meeting your educational expenses.

I do not mind his/him sitting on this table.

They insisted on my/me being present in the function.

NOTE-2:

As both the gerund and infinitive have the force of noun and a verb, they have the same uses.

Thus, in many sentences either of them may be used without any special difference in meaning.

Examples:

Teach me to swim. (Infinitive)
Teach me swimming. (Gerund)
Both these sentences convey the same meaning.

To forgive is better than to punish. (Infinitive)
Forgiving is better than punishing. (Gerund)
Both these sentences convey the same meaning.

Exercises:

i. He is interested in becoming a politician.

ii. Imagine crossing the river.

iii. We saw the lady running up the stairs.

iv. A professor has to do a lot of reading.

v. I do not like your risking your life.

vi. Would you mind helping me?

vii. I suggest his taking up the job immediately.

viii. I do not deny his speaking well.

ix. Do not postpone your learning Hindi.

x. Speaking to your child few minutes a day will develop the rapport between your child and you.

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