The gerund is one of the most frequently used parts of speech in English. It is so common that perhaps English should be spelled Inglish. The most important point to remember about the gerund is that it is a verbal noun, which means that it behaves in a very similar way to a noun, such as chocolate. I like chocolate and I like swimming for example.
So, let’s have a look at this wonderfully flexible grammar point. There are four basic rules governing the use of the gerund.
- The gerund is the -ing form of a verb that is used as a noun but not to be confused with the present participle, which is always preceded by the verb ‘to be’. For example: We enjoyed visiting the Stock Exchange. The children kept disturbing their father. Yesterday I quit smoking for the thirteenth time. Compare: I like swimming. I like chocolate. Swimming and chocolate both being nouns.
- Frequently, the gerund is preceded by a preposition: After seeing the film, we went to a restaurant. Not by working but by thinking about working will we succeed. Despite solving the problem of inflation, the government became unpopular.
- Thirdly, the gerund is traditionally preceded by the possessive form of the pronoun: however, in these more liberal times, the object form is also used: She objected to his (him) playing golf on their wedding anniversary.
- Fourthly, certain verbs are used in combination with the gerund only: they are, admit, appreciate, avoid, consider, deny, enjoy, escape, finish, imagine, keep, miss, postpone, practise, quit, resent, resist, suggest and stop.
So try your hand at using the gerund to re-write the 5 sentences below.
01. He said that he had stolen the watch.
The accused _____________________________________________________
02. He said that she must go with him.
He insisted _____________________________________________________
03. I would like to see the film again.
I wouldn’t mind _____________________________________________________
04. Let’s leave the car here.
What about _____________________________________________________
05. He drove too quickly, so they arrested him.
He was arrested _____________________________________________________
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