Grammar Lesson: The Gerund and Gerund Phrase
- A gerund, the second type of verbal, ends in -ing and functions as a noun. A gerund's uses are many—subject, direct object, subject complement (predicate nominative), appositive, and object of the preposition. If a gerund or the entire gerund phrase is removed from the sentence, the remaining words will not form a complete, logical sentence.
- A gerund phrase includes the gerund, its modifiers, and the words that complete the idea begun by the gerund.
The underlined word in each sentence is a gerund. Its use is within the parentheses that follow the sentence.
- Learning is fun for Kate and Moe. (subject)
- Marcia loves sewing. (direct object)
- A fun time for Rachel is reading. (predicate nominative)
- His passion, traveling, inspired him in many ways. (appositive)
- Geraldine has a love for traveling. (object of the preposition)
In each sentence, the gerund is italicized, and the gerund phrase is underlined.
- Shopping for new dresses excites Terry Anne. (subject)
- The orchestra members enjoy rehearsing for long periods of time. (direct object)
- Tommy's passion is running long distances. (predicate nominative)
- Joanna's love, running, kept her very fit. (appositive)
- Can you pass the test by studying very hard this month? (object of the preposition)
Note: Remember that the same phrase can have several uses.
- The man signaling to you is my grandfather. (participial phrase)
- Signaling to you was not difficult. (gerund phrase)
- The player passing the soccer ball is James. (participial phrase)
- Passing the soccer ball was hard for that man. (gerund phrase)
Activity- Gerund or Not?
Ten of these underlined groups of words are gerund phrases. Place a checkmark on the line next to those ten sentences that contain gerund phrases.
- ____ The dog groomer was brushing Murphy's hair.
- ____ Making this work will be fairly easy for Kate.
- ____ Brushing Murphy's hair, the dog groomer seemed to be enjoying herself.
- ____ Latoya's sister enjoys watching sci-fi movies.
- ____ Thomas Edison's passion was experimenting in the lab.
- ____ Launching his boat this summer was a thrill for Jimmy.
- ____ My uncle recalled walking two miles to school with his friends each morning.
- ____ These artists working on the mural will finish soon.
- ____ Monique's arms were tired from lifting all these heavy weights at the gym.
- ____ Rex's favorite hobby is collecting stamps.
- ____ Trying to reach his friends by telephone, Willy looked forward to telling them the good news.
- ____ Hubie detested making loud noises.
- ____ James enjoys playing his guitar.
- ____ Illustrating books was fun for Maureen.
- ____ After that, the commentator was interviewing the country's new leader.
Sentences 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 contain gerund phrases.