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The Uses of the Gerund

Some notes on how the gerund can be used in English.

There are many uses for the gerund, is the “ing” form of a verb, that a new speaker is not aware of. The gerund can be used to express an action that is happening and often the person thinks that is the only use. It can also be used as a noun or adjective.

Sometimes the gerund may be used to introduce a noun phrase like, “Ordering in a restaurant is difficult especially when it is crowded.” The average person probably thinks that the gerund is only used in the present tense in order to relate an on going activity.

If you were in the process of doing something, you would need to express yourself using the present progressive or present continuous tense. This would also apply to something that is going to happen in the near future. So if I say, “She is playing the guitar,” that is something she is doing at time the person is speaking. The gerund can also be used in the past to generate a sense that the action had occurred then.

When the gerund is an adjective, it would be used to describe a person, thing or event. So if I said, “The concert was boring,” by inference, I would be saying that I did not find the concert interesting. If I wanted to get an opinion about a certain sport, I could say something like, “What do think about skiing?” Skiing would then be a gerund form of the activity and is the noun in the sentence.

I might want to suggest that someone try a certain sport and here again I can use the gerund form of the verb as in, “How about trying hockey as a sport?” There are many uses for the gerund then that can be tailored to the means of communication the speaker wants to use. The gerund may also be incorporated into idiomatic expressions.

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19 Responses to “The Uses of the Gerund”
  • brett craig
    April 29th, 2008 at 7:44 am

    I wish there would be someone who will post a clearer and complete lesson about gerund

  • nice idea...
    September 4th, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I don’t actually understand much about the correct uses of gerund but how can we motivate the child so that they coud easily understand about gerund? Please help me

  • 123
    June 29th, 2009 at 3:17 am

    i dont under stand it

  • T Mama
    June 29th, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Food for thought, so self explanitory, yet a good thing to write about in order to help fellow authors. I read everywhere that spelling and grammer is not important, however I feel that it definitely is. An article with improper grammer turns me off to reading after a few sentences. It seems to discredit the author and that’s not good.

  • sallytot
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:58 am

    i under stand it..but i wanna know more about it

  • gil
    January 19th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    i wish you can answer all my questions about gerund .. or you can give me dxamole that will elicit answer using gerund phrase

  • joy
    January 21st, 2010 at 7:55 am

    a gerund is a verb that acts as a noun but i know what are its uses

  • ecrivan wordwizard
    January 26th, 2010 at 8:34 am

    The best thing for parents to do is to get their children to take lessons, either privately or after school if he/she has difficulties.
    The gerund does not always act as a noun, sometimes it is part of the verb as in the present progressive:,”I am working today”.

  • Jukkas
    February 28th, 2011 at 8:12 pm


  • Rylai Crestfall
    February 28th, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    w3w, i dont understand it…

  • xylene faith
    September 19th, 2011 at 12:12 am

    i dont understand your explanation about the gerund

  • mariah doreen
    September 19th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    hindi ko ma intindihan ang explanation nya..tungkol sah gerund

  • R.A. Graves
    November 15th, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I don’t understand why people don’t understand!
    You made sense to me.

  • marites c
    November 28th, 2011 at 2:08 am

    what are the uses ofgerund…..i cant understand i can but slight…………….

  • Bruce
    June 7th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Sigh. A gerund is a word that’s derived from a verb, but — here’s the important point — the gerund _functions as a noun_.

    Looking at the author’s examples:

    “Ordering in a restaurant is difficult especially when it is crowded.” — “Ordering” is a gerund because it’s the subject of the sentence. The basic sentence structure is subject-verb-adjective: ordering . . . is . . . difficult

    “She is playing the guitar,” — there’s no gerund there; instead, the verb “is playing” consists of the auxiliary “is” plus the present participle “playing.”

    “The concert was boring,” — there’s no gerund there; “boring” in that context is a predicate adjective, not a predicate nominative.

  • yendie16
    July 24th, 2012 at 4:06 am

    What! I don\’t understand the uses of gerund!

  • Niño Marco G.C.
    July 27th, 2012 at 3:50 am

    There are Five uses of Gerund:
    1. A gerund can be used wherever a noun can be used. Nouns are often used as modifiers. Gerund,too, may be used as modifiers.
    drawing board – \\\” a board for drawing\\\”
    2. Because a gerund is a verb from, it has some of the qualities of a verb.
    - a gerund may have a direct object
    - a gerund may be modified by an adverb
    3. A pronoun or a proper noun immediately preceding a gerund is usually in the possessive form.
    4. A gerund used as the object of a preposition should be related to the subject. otherwise, the phrase will dangle.
    5. Do not confuse the gerund with the present participle. Both have the same from.; but while the gerund is a verbal noun, the present participle is a verbal adjective.
    Gerund: Shuttering was Cathy\\\’s worst handicap.
    Present Participle. Shuttering in protest, the prisoner was led from the coutroom.

  • stupid
    September 10th, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Other think there smart

  • kurt
    September 24th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    hahaahahah! now i understand gerunds.

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