What are gerunds?

Read the following sentence:

  • Singing is his hobby.

Here singing is a verb ending in -ing. At the same time it is the subject of the verb is, and hence does function as a noun. Such a form of the verb ending in -ing and used as a noun is called a gerund.

Forms of the gerund

The gerund has different forms.

  • I like reading. (Present)
  • Who doesn’t love being looked at? (Present passive)
  • Having slept for ten hours, I felt great. (Present perfect)
  • We are happy about having been invited. (Present perfect, passive)

Uses of the gerund

As the subject of a verb

  • Smoking is injurious to health.
  • Trespassing is prohibited.
  • Reading is his favorite activity.

As subject complement

  • My mistake was trusting my boyfriend.
  • My favorite activity is reading.

As the object of a verb

  • I hate packing.
  • He loves driving fast cars.
  • I enjoy swimming in the sea.

As the object of a preposition

  • I am thinking of writing a novel.
  • He is fond of seeing pictures.
  • The boy was punished for lying.
  • He was arrested for stealing a policeman’s helmet.

In apposition to a noun

  • His crime, stealing his master’s watch, was considered serious.
  • Our goal, collecting a million dollars for the project, can’t be fulfilled easily.