Many words which were originally gerunds are now treated as simple nouns. Examples are: parting, lightning, helping, filling, painting etc. Most of these words take articles before them and form plurals with -s.
- Partings are always painful.
- The lightning struck the building.
- His paintings are very beautiful.
- He has had three fillings.
Gerunds are also used in the formation of some compound words. Examples are:
Walking-stick, frying-pan, writing-table, looking-glass, sleeping-bag etc.
Substituting a gerund for an infinitive
After some verbs either an -ing form or an infinitive can be used. These include the following:
Advise, allow, begin, continue, forbid, forget, go, hate, hear, intend, like, love, permit, prefer, propose, regret, remember, see, start, stop, try, wait and watch.
- I hate to work on Sundays.
- I hate working on Sundays.
- To attack is better than to wait indefinitely.
- Attacking is better than waiting indefinitely.
After certain adjectives and verbs, a preposition + gerund is used instead of an infinitive. Examples are: think, despair, fond, confident, prevent, abstain, refrain, prohibit etc.
- I am thinking of writing a novel. (NOT I am thinking to write a novel. ) (NOT I am thinking of to write a novel.)
- I despair of reforming that fellow.
- The students abstained from attending classes.
- We were prohibited from entering the premises.
- She is fond of dancing.
- We are confident of winning the first prize.
- We must refrain from dealing with such people.
- He is keen on building a career in research.