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Grammar Lessons: Simple Guide About Gerunds and Its Types

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Welcome to the wonderful world of grammar, where we uncover the secrets behind the words we use every day. Today, we’re diving into the fascinating topic of gerunds. Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, by the end of this blog, you’ll see just how easy and fun gerunds can be!

What is a Gerund?

A gerund is a verb that acts like a noun. It’s formed by adding “-ing” to the base form of a verb. Simple, right? Let’s look at some examples to make it even clearer.
Running is fun.
Swimming is a great way to stay fit.
Cooking can be very relaxing.
In each of these sentences, the gerund (running, swimming, cooking) is the subject. It tells us what the sentence is about. Just like any other noun, gerunds can serve as subjects, objects, or complements in a sentence.

Types of Gerunds:

Gerunds as Subjects

When a gerund is the subject of a sentence, it usually appears at the beginning of the sentence. Here are a few examples:
Reading can really help in IELTS preparation.
Dancing makes her happy.
Travelling broadens your horizons.
See how the gerunds are doing the work of nouns? They are the main focus of each sentence.

Gerunds as Objects

Gerunds can also act as objects. They can follow certain verbs, making the sentence complete. Check out these examples:
I enjoy reading.
They love dancing.
He misses travelling.
In these sentences, the gerunds (reading, dancing, travelling) follow the verbs (enjoy, love, miss) and answer the question “What?” What do you enjoy? Reading. What do they love? Dancing. What does he miss? Travelling.

Gerunds as Subject Complements

A gerund can also act as a subject complement, providing more information about the subject. Here are some examples:
My favourite hobby is drawing.
Her main goal is running a marathon.
Their biggest challenge was finding a new language institute in Dubai.
In these sentences, the gerunds (drawing, running, finding) give us more details about the subjects (hobby, goal, challenge).

Gerunds as an Object Complement

An object complement is a noun, pronoun, or adjective that follows a direct object and renames or describes it. When a gerund acts as an object complement, it follows and provides additional information about the direct object.
They found her reading in the library.
Here, “reading” is the object complement of the direct object “her.” It tells us what she was doing when they found her.
More Examples:
We heard him singing in the shower.
I saw the dog playing in the yard.

Gerunds as Objects of Prepositions

Gerunds often follow prepositions, acting as the object of the preposition. Let’s see how:
She’s good at singing.
They’re interested in studying.
He’s excited about playing.
The gerunds (singing, learning, playing) follow the prepositions (at, in, about), helping to complete the ideas expressed in these sentences.

Gerund as an Indirect Object

An indirect object receives the action of the verb indirectly. It usually comes between the verb and the direct object. While it’s less common to see gerunds as indirect objects, they can appear in this role. Here’s an example:
She gave singing a try.
Here, “singing” is the indirect object of the verb “gave.” The direct object is “a try.”
More Examples:
He enjoyed playing in the park.
They taught dancing to the children.

Gerunds vs. Present Participles

It’s easy to confuse gerunds with present participles because they both end in “-ing.” However, they serve different functions. A gerund acts as a noun, while a present participle is used to form continuous tenses or act as an adjective. Compare these examples:
Example 1:
Gerund: Running is healthy. (Running is the subject.)
Present Participle: She is running fast. (Running is part of the verb phrase “is running.”)

Example 2:
Gerund: He enjoys working on cars. (Working on cars is the object.)
Present Participle: The working class in Dubai is growing. (Working describes the noun “class.”)

Fun with Gerunds

Let’s test your understanding with a quick quiz. Identify the gerunds in the following sentences:

  1. SwimmingGerund as subject is a fantastic workout.
  2. They are interested in learningGerund after the preposition ‘in’ new languages.
  3. Her favourite pastime is readingGerund as an object.
  4. He enjoys playingGerund as an object the guitar.
  5. She is passionate about writingGerund as an object.

Check your answers by clicking on the words!

Click here to find out the answers!

Swimming: gerund as subject
Learning: gerund after the preposition ‘in’
Reading: gerund as an object
Playing: gerund as an object
Writing: gerund as an object

Why Gerunds Matter?

Understanding gerunds is essential because they make your English more fluent and natural. By using gerunds correctly, you can add variety and depth to your sentences. Here are some more reasons why gerunds are awesome:
Versatility: You can use gerunds in a variety of ways to make your sentences more interesting.
Conciseness: Gerunds help you say more with fewer words.
Clarity: Using gerunds correctly makes your ideas clearer and easier to understand.

Common Gerund Mistakes

Even though gerunds are straightforward, it’s easy to make mistakes. Here are a few common pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Use the wrong verb form: Remember, a gerund is always the “-ing” form of a verb.
    Incorrect: She enjoys to swim.
    Correct: She enjoys swimming.
  2. Forgetting the preposition: When a gerund follows a preposition, make sure to include the preposition.
    Incorrect: They are good playing chess.
    Correct: They are good at playing chess.
  3. Misplacing the gerund: Ensure the gerund is in the right place in the sentence.
    Incorrect: She the guitar enjoys playing.
    Correct: She enjoys playing the guitar.

Gerunds are a fun and essential part of English grammar. They transform verbs into nouns, allowing us to express our actions and ideas in varied and interesting ways. Whether you’re talking about your hobbies, describing activities, or sharing your passions, gerunds are your friends.

So next time you find yourself jogging, painting, or listening to music, remember: you’re not just enjoying an activity; you’re also using a gerund! Happy learning, and keep practicing your English with enthusiasm and joy.

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