Saturday, 31 January 2015



The word Gerund originates from the Latin word 'gerere' meaning 'to do'. Gerund occupies a prime space in our linguistic lives. Its use in English grammar is very common.

Gerunds are nouns formed from verbs and they describe actions. They are different from infinitives. The gerund and the present participle look alike but there are a few ground rules for distinguishing between them.

The use of Gerund, Infinitive and Participle shows the difference between these as follows: 


Gerund is formed by adding the words 'ing' with the first form of verb. It is used as a noun. As such it can be used  in all the forms 
as a noun is used as follows.

1. Subject of the verb; as : 

Reading helps you  develop your language skills.
Swimming is a good exercise.
Walking is very necessary for you.
Painting is her hobby.

2. Object of the verb; as : 

She did not stop talking.
Stop writing.
She enjoys cooking.
The child started crying
I could not help laughing.

3. Governed by the preposition; as : 

He is addicted to drinking.
The child was punished for telling a lie.
She is fond of reading books.
In spite of skipping his breakfast, he reached there late.
He is habituated of stealing goods.

4. Complement of the verb; as : 

He is learning singing.
She is learning dancing.
Boys are enjoying playing.

5. Case in apposition; as : 

Singing, a fine art, is taught here.
Fencing, a skill, is taught in this school.
Drinking, a vice , is not liked by her.

Exercise ----- Gerunds : 
Here are some sentences for practice.

1. Walking on grass barefooted is good for health.
2. Making lame excuses is his old habit.
3. The authorities prohibited sticking of bills here..
4. The policeman saw the thief running with money.
5. The juggler is adept in showing his tricks.
6. The husband does not like his wife's nagging habit.
7. She is not interested in improving her handwriting.
8. The child does not like going to school.
9. He does not like taking any bribe.
10. Your cooking needs to improve,

Answers :  
1.In this sentence 'walking' is a gerund. - Subject Noun. 
2. Making is Gerund - Subject noun.
3. Sticking is Gerund --- object of  the verb prohibited.
4. Running is Gerund --- an object (thief) complement.
5. Showing is Gerund  -- object of preposition in.
6. Nagging  is Gerund --- Object supplement.
7. Improving is Gerund-- object of preposition in.
8. Going is Gerund ---- Object noun.
9, Taking is Gerund---- object noun.
10. Cooking is Gerund --- Subject noun.


Present Participle is formed by adding the words 'ing' to first form of a verb. It is used as an adjective.

1.Present Participle relates to the Subject therefore it is used along with a subject.

Hearing a loud noise, villagers ran out of their houses.
Hearing the noise, the child woke up.
Seeing the stranger, the dog started barking.
Barking dogs seldom bite.

2.   When Present Participle relates to the object it is used after the object.

She came there laughing.
I saw an old man carrying a lamp in his hand.
The child ran away  crying.
The boys came here shouting.

3. Participle or Past Participle is used for a work that is finished before another work starts e.g. done or having done.

Having heard the news, he closed the door.
Having finished his work, the labourer sat for rest.
Having heard the noise, the thief ran away.


Infinitive is formed by adding the word   'to' with first form of the verb and it is used as a Noun, adjective or Adverb.

I have come here to play.
She wants to go home.
This mango is good to eat.
His father is about to come.
She wants to go to the market to buy vegetables.
This house is to let.
To find fault with others is very easy.
To go further was very difficult.

In some cases infinitive sign 'to' is not used in the sentence.

 Generally, with the verbs after words Let, Make,Hear,See etc. the word 'to' is not prefixed e.g.

Let him go now.
She made him work.
She let the children play outside.
They made him see the result.
We saw her go there.
We heard her say this.
The mother let the child sleep.
They saw the train depart.

The use of gerunds and infinitives is dictated by the context though it is possible to use gerunds and infinitives interchangeably in most contexts. 

Gerunds communicate a sense of continuing action because of use of 'ing'. Usually gerunds are used when we refer to real activities or experiences. 

The infinitives can often sound like a truism, largely due to perfect tense which refers to possible activities which could happen. Gerunds refer to real, immediate activity while infinitive could refer to some potential action.

Expressions such as 'Can't help' , Couldn't help' , 'It's no use'  are invariably followed by gerunds. Infinitives are inappropriate in such cases.

He can't stand being overlooked by you.
He couldn't help laughing
It's no use feeling sorry for this.

Find out the word used as gerund in the following sentences and their type.

1. I do not like her telling lies.
2. Are you interested in improving your 
3. We saw him going alone.
4. What interests him is helping others.
5. She likes powdering her face.
6. Walking on grass is good for health.
7. She was not interested in consulting him.
8. We saw the cat playing with kittens.
9. Playing golf is his hobby.
10. Teaching is her profession.


 1. In this sentence 'telling' is a gerund. I is subject,  'do not like' is a verb  'her' is a  possessive pronoun. So gerund 'telling' is object to the possessive pronoun 'her'.

2. In this sentence 'improving' is a gerund. 'You' is subject , 'are interested' is a verb 'in' is a preposition. Gerund improving is object of the  preposition 'in'.

3. In this sentence 'going' is a gerund. 'We' is subject 'saw' is verb and 'him' is object. So the gerund 'going' is complement of object 'him'.  The word'going' competes the activity of the object 'him'.

4.  In this sentence 'helping' is a gerund. 'What interests him' is subject and 'helping' is  complement of the subject.

5. In this sentence 'powdering' is a gerund. She is subject & likes is verb. Powdering her face is object in this sentence. 

6. In this sentence 'Walking' is a gerund. Walking is also used as a noun and is subject.

7. In this sentence 'consulting' is a gerund. 'She' is subject and 'is not interested' is a verb. 'In' is  a preposition. Gerund 'consulting' is object of preposition 'in'.

8. In this sentence 'playing' is a gerund. 'We' is subject, 'saw' is a verb and 'cat' is object.  Gerund 'playing' is complement of object 'cat'. 
    'Playing with kittens' completes the action of the object cat.

9. In this sentence 'Playing' is a gerund. It is a noun and is subject in the sentence.

10. Teaching is a gerund, noun. It is a Subject in this sentence.

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