The Gerund

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The Gerund
A gerund is an -ing form (present participle) of a word that acts as noun, usually an
activity, behavior, or event. It might seem like a verb, but it’s not. As a noun, a gerund
can perform all the functions of a noun, and can be replaced by a pronoun (it).
A gerund phrase is the gerund and any modifiers and objects of that gerund.
Highlight them below.
Examples and functions of gerunds
1. Swimming is fun. (subject)
2. Swimming in the ocean tires me out. (subject)
3. Fred enjoys laughing at movies. (object of the verb)
4. Tammy gives practicing the violin priority in her day. (object of the verb)
5. Tim’s favorite hobby is kayaking. (complement)
6. He got an award for building the rocket that went the highest. (object of the
preposition)
7. You can solve the equation by using long division. (object of the preposition)
-ing words that are NOT GERUNDS:
 Progressive verbs ([be] + -ing)
Examples
I am running a marathon tomorrow. (verb)
I had been running for an hour by the time I escaped the cheetah. (verb)
I tried running a business, but I don’t have the leadership experience. (gerund)
Remember, if an –ing form stands alone without a form of be, it’s not acting as a verb.
 Adjectives
Adjectives modify nouns. Gerunds are nouns.
If you can remove the –ing word from the sentence and it’s still a legitimate sentence, it’s
probably an adjective.
Examples
That’s the winning lottery ticket. (adjective, modifies ticket)
The billowing curtains frightened the sleeping child. (adjective, modifies curtains)
I know winning the lottery is a one-in-a-million chance. (gerund)
Notice: Don’t be confused! Gerunds are simply nouns, and gerund phrases do exactly
what nouns do, and you can replace them with a pronoun (it).
Gerunds Practice
Directions: Fill in each blank with an appropriate gerund (or get fancy and use a
gerund phrase!). Then, underline the subject of each sentence and circle the verb.
Then, highlight gerund phrases.
Example: Running is good for you.
1. _______________ through the forest in the dark can be frightening.
2. By _______________ for the test, you should do well.
3. _______________ at your faults is healthy.
4. The man practiced _______________ in the rain.
5. The mayor gave _______________ the streets priority.
6. _______________ is not good enough.
7. _______________ should be your goal.
8. After _______________ through the night, the family was happy to arrive home.
9. The washing machine needs _______________.
10. I paid for _______________ and _______________ to be completed by Friday.
11. _______________ directly after eating a meal is risky.
12. The woman, by _______________ her childhood stories, made millions of dollars.
13. _______________ on a boat is dangerous.
14. Through a careful _______________ of the text, you may discover its meaning.
15. We arrived ten minutes early by _______________ through the park.
16. _______________ in the shower makes for fluid tones.
17. _______________ is a rewarding hobby.
18. I do not advise _______________ in the hallway.
19. The inspector gave most of his time to _______________ his case.
20. The governor made _______________ crime his goal.
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