English Gerund

Close up of female tennis player preparing to serve
Les and Dave Jacobs/ Cultura/ Getty Images

Introduction to English Gerunds

The English gerund form of the verb is the 'ing' form of the verb. Gerunds are verbs that are used as nouns. In other words, by adding 'ing' to any verb you can change that verb into a noun. Gerunds are often used at the beginning of sentences when focusing on activity as the subject of conversation.

Examples:

Playing tennis is good for your health, and good fun!
Listening 10 minutes a day to English will help you improve your understanding of the language.

It's also possible to use gerunds in any other position in a sentence. As a direct object of a verb:

Examples:

Hanna enjoys listening to classical music.
Jason admits spending too much money on toys.

Prepositions + English Gerunds

English Gerunds are also objects of prepositions. This means that whenever a verb follows a preposition, use the gerund or 'ing' form of the verb. This is especially important for adjective + preposition combinations and phrasal verbs (see below) which generally end in prepositions.

Examples:

I looked into buying a new computer.
Sally was afraid of walking alone in the dark.

Next Page: Verbs + English Gerunds

Verbs + Gerunds

There are many verbs that are always followed by the gerund form. Here are some of the most important:

admit
advise
avoid
consider
delay
deny
discuss
enjoy
finish
keep
postpone
recommend
regret
risk
suggest
tolerate

Examples:

He avoided paying late fees on the account.
She denied knowing anything about the crime.
I postponed making a decision until Monday.
She regrets not studying French in college.

NOTE: Notice that the negative gerund form is 'not + verb + ing'.

Next Page: Adjective Combinations + Gerunds

Adjective Combinations + Gerunds

Gerunds also follow common adjective + preposition combinations. Remember that prepositions are always followed by the gerund form. In other words, any adjective + preposition form you learn will always be followed by the gerund if used in combination with a verb. Here are some of the most common adjective + preposition combinations:

accustomed to
afraid of
bored with
concerned about
convinced of
dedicated to
disappointed in
exposed to
filled with
guilty of
innocent of
interested in
known for
proud of
remembered for
scared of
tired of
upset with
worried about

Examples:

She's interested in taking French lessons.
The man was found guilty of committing the crime.
Tom is proud of donating his free time to the charity.

Next Page: Phrasal Verbs + Gerunds

Phrasal Verbs + Gerunds

Gerunds are used with phrasal verbs that end in prepositions. Phrasal verbs are verb phrases which are made up of two or more words, generally the verb plus one or two prepositions. Not all phrasal verbs combine with other verbs. Here are some of the most common phrasal verbs that do combine with other verbs in the gerund form:

bring about
call off
check into
cut out
figure out
get over
look into
put off
take over

Examples:

The coach called off practicing for the day.
Tom looked into finding a new job.
She took a long time to get over losing her dog.