English grammar: gerunds

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Advanced English Grammar Course

A gerund is a word that looks like a verb, but functions as a noun in the sentence. Gerunds are formed by using the -ING form of the verb: reading, swimming, studying, etc. However, when it comes to grammar, they act as nouns.

Here are some common ways to use gerunds in English:

As the subject of a sentence:

  • Swimming is a great workout.
  • Reading books can help you learn new vocabulary.
  • Eating junk food can cause weight gain.

As the object of the verb “to be”:

  • My favorite activity is hiking.
  • One of your duties is taking notes in meetings.
  • His biggest mistake was trusting the salesperson.

After possessives:

  • He doesn’t enjoy my singing.
  • Her cooking is simple but tasty.
  • The baby’s crying woke me up.

After prepositions:

  • They left without saying goodbye.
  • I went to the gym after finishing my work.
  • You can improve your English by taking a course.
  • This knife is great for chopping vegetables.

After some phrasal verbs:

  • I put off starting the project until the last minute.
    (put off = delayed)
  • She keeps on bothering me when I’m trying to concentrate.
    (keeps on = continues, does repeatedly)
  • We ended up cancelling the picnic due to bad weather.
    (ended up = finally took the action)
  • I look forward to meeting you next week.
    (look forward to = anticipate, be excited about)

Your turn!

Complete each of these sentences with a gerund (a verb/action in the -ING form):

  • __________ makes me happy.
  • __________ is difficult for me.
  • When I was a child, my favorite activity was ____________.
  • You can improve your life by ______________.
  • I’m currently looking forward to ______________.

Learn more: How to use BE, BEING, BEEN

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English grammar: gerunds Espresso English

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