English Gerund

Close up of female tennis player preparing to serve
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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:

    • 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.

    Verbs + English 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'.

    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.

    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.
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    Your Citation
    Beare, Kenneth. "English Gerund." ThoughtCo, Mar. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/english-gerund-in-grammar-1211098. Beare, Kenneth. (2017, March 28). English Gerund. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/english-gerund-in-grammar-1211098 Beare, Kenneth. "English Gerund." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/english-gerund-in-grammar-1211098 (accessed November 24, 2017).