Languages › English as a Second Language An Introduction to Using Gerunds Share Flipboard Email Print Les and Dave Jacobs/ Cultura/ Getty Images English as a Second Language Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated February 21, 2018 A gerund is a verb that typically functions as a noun or as the direct object of another verb. Generally speaking, creating a gerund is as easy as adding "ing" to the base form of the verb. There are some exceptions, however. For one-syllable verbs ending with a consonant: Double the final consonant before adding "ing." For example: dig/digging, put/putting, plan/planning. For words longer than one syllable, there is usually no need to double the final consonant. (Exception: begin - beginning).For verbs ending in "e": Drop the vowel before add "ing." For example: write/writing, take/taking, bake/baking.For verbs ending in "ie": Replace the vowels with "y" before adding "ing." For example: die/dying, lie/lying. Subject When acting as a noun, a gerund often is at the beginning of a sentence. For example: Playing tennis takes lots of physical and mental skill. Going to church is an important part of many people's lives. Thinking about vacation makes me happy! Object of a Verb Many verbs often combine with a second verb in the gerund form. The second verb in the gerund is the object of the verb. Mary enjoys watching TV late at night. Alan admits cheating on the last test. Susan imagines having children later in her life. There are many verbs that are always followed by the gerund form. Here are some of the most important: admitadviseavoidconsiderdelaydenydiscussenjoyfinishkeeppostponerecommendregretrisksuggesttolerate Phrasal Verbs 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. Here are some of the most common: bring aboutcall offcheck intocut outfigure outget overlook intoput offtake 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. Adjectives Gerunds also follow common adjective/preposition combinations. Remember that prepositions are always followed by the gerund form. Here are some of the most common: accustomed toafraid ofbored withconcerned aboutconvinced ofdedicated todisappointed inexposed tofilled withguilty ofinnocent ofinterested inknown forproud ofremembered forscared oftired ofupset withworried 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. Object of a Preposition When followed by a verb, prepositions always take the gerund form. Here are some examples: Peter arrived at work after fighting the morning rush hour traffic. Are you able to remember all the facts without googling them? She thinks Mary is against buying a new house. Remember that prepositions are often the last word in phrasal verbs. For example: Tim thought about buying a new car. We are going to look into renting an apartment in Hawaii next summer. I look forward to seeing you soon. Subject Complement Subject complements are used to define the subject with linking verbs such as "be," "seem" and "become." Here are some examples: Her biggest wish in life is traveling around the world. My intention is making sure you understand the gerund. Her questions seem to wait for answers. Negative Gerunds Making a gerund negative is easy. Just add "not" before the gerund. Here are examples of each type of gerund use using the gerund in the negative form. Not wanting anything in life can make you very happy. Alison enjoys not eating fatty food, and she's lost a lot of weight. I look forward to not working on my vacation. A Word of Caution The gerund is often confused with the present participle. That's because the gerund looks exactly like the present participle; they both are formed by adding "ing" to the verb. Look at how the word is being used in the sentence; if it's functioning as a noun, it's a gerund. Present Continuous Verb: We're waiting for the bus.Gerund as Subject: Waiting for the bus is boring.Present Perfect Verb: I have been working on the project for two years.Gerund as Object of Preposition: I look forward to working on the project.