Gerund

 

The ing form (-ing, swimming, surfing) in English is a separate part of speech and is called a gerund. In a sentence, it can also have different functions. 

 

Use of the gerund 

The Ing form of the verb, however, can be not only a gerund, but also a participle (first). We should note that their meanings will differ. 

Gerund in English has a simple and perfect form in the active and passive voices. 

  • Active  

- Ironing – having ironed  

  • Passive  

- Being ironed – having been ironed  

The active voice is used when there is a person or object that performs the action expressed by the gerund. 

If the action expressed by the gerund is performed on a person or an object, then the passive form will be used. 

As an exception, we note the existence of verbs, after which, it would seem, the passive should be used, but the active is used. For example: 

  • He doesn’t think I deserve rewarding.  
  • That movie is definitely worth watching.  

In the case when the action described by the gerund occurred before the action expressed by the personal form, passive is used. 

  • We appreciated having had the opportunity to meet the Queen personally.  

 

Rules for using the gerund 

1. Most often we can observe the setting of the gerund after prepositions. Some participles and verbs require certain prepositions after them, after which the gerund is placed. In a sentence, it will be expressed by an addition. The most popular preposition is of, which is used in constructions such as

  • to think of 
  • to be afraid of 
  • to be proud of 
  • to approve of 
  • to be capable/incapable of 
  • to accuse of 
  • to be fond of 
  • etc

Less popular are: 

  • to be interested in 
  • to get used to 
  • to prevent from 
  • to succeed in 

2. Prepositions can also be used after nouns, leaving the gerund to play the role of attribute. These nouns include:

  • process of 
  • surprise of 
  • necessity of 
  • pleasure of 
  • habit of 
  • hope of 
  • preparation for 
  • method of 

The preposition of adds the meaning of the genitive case to the noun. 

3. Gerund can be used as an adverbial modifier

  • with prepositions in, on, after, before to express time
  • with the preposition for, expressing a reason or purpose
  • with prepositions without and instead of

4. Use of the gerund without prepositions

The list of verbs after which the gerund is used without any other words includes the following: 

stop, remember, enjoy, admit, consider, deny, appreciate, avoid, miss, mind, discuss, postpone, risk, suggest, give up (quit), keep, delay, fancy, mention, finish, imagine, practice, involve. 

There are also verbs after which it is allowed to use not only the gerund, but also the infinitive with the particle to: remember, forget, go on, stop, regret, mean. 

5. Gerund as a subject is used as a noun

  • Smoking is bad for your health. 

6. Gerund as a predicative (the nominal part of the predicate) can also be used as a noun

  • My hobby is drawing.  

 

Examples 

Rule 

Example 

Simple gerund  

She gave up smoking few years ago. 

Participle I vs gerund 

- a waiting train (part. I) 

- a waiting room (gerund) 

Active voice  

Nina doesn’t like washing the dishes after dinner. 

Passive voice  

The dog like being washed by Nina.  

Active voice instead of passive  

Your hair needs cutting. 

Perfect form  

She likes having been invited to the party.  

Verb + preposition + gerund = object 

Weren’t you afraid of swimming in the sea when you were a child?  

It seems like he is really fond of composing.  

Noun + preposition + gerund = attribute  

They had no reasons for telling me fake news. 

Verb + gerund = object  

She avoided answering my question. 

Verb + gerund / verb + infinitive with to 

I remember turning the iron off.  

Don’t forget to get your car keys this time.  

Gerung as a subject  

Walking is good for your body shape.  

Gerund as the nominal part of the predicate 

Our biggest failure was dancing.