Gerunds all end in -ing: skiing, reading, dancing, singing, etc. Gerunds act like nouns and can serve as subjects or objects of sentences. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

The following sentences illustrate some uses of gerunds:

  • Swimming is fun.
    • Here, the subject is swimming, the gerund.
    • The verb is the linking verb is.
  • I like swimming.
    • This time, the subject of this sentence is the pronoun I.
    • The verb is like.
    • The gerund swimming becomes the direct object.
  • I never gave swimming all that much effort.
    • break these down too
  • Do you fancy going out?
    • break these down too
  • After being elected president, he moved with his family to the capital.
    • break these down too

Gerunds can be created using helping verbs as well:

  • Being deceived can make someone feel angry.
  • Having read the book once before makes me more prepared.

Often the “doer” of the gerund is clearly signaled:

  • We enjoyed singing yesterday (we ourselves sang)
  • The cat responded by licking the cream (the cat licked the cream)
  • His heart is set on being awarded the prize (he hopes that he himself will be awarded the prize)
  • Tomás likes eating apricots (Tomás himself eats apricots)

However, sometimes the “doer” must be overtly specified, typically in a position immediately before the non-finite verb:

  • We enjoyed their singing.
  • We were delighted at Bianca being awarded the prize.


Identify the gerunds and their roles in the following sentences:

  1. Sam was really bad at gardening.
  2. Studying is one of Jazz’s favorite things to do.
  3. Danny just wanted to go skateboarding.