What Is a Gerund? What Are the Uses of a Gerund?

What Is a Gerund?

Any name of work, act, or activity, if expressed with a verb word that ends in -ing, is called a gerund. In other words, a gerund is a verb word ending in -ing which functions the same as a noun of an act, activity, or work.

So, it should be remembered that to be a gerund, a word should be

  • a verb word that names a work, act, or activity
  • a verb word that should end in -ing.

If these two features are found in a word, then it can be said for sure that word is a gerund.


  • Listening is important for improving your pronunciation.
  • Jogging is my favorite exercise.
  • Most of the young boys love swimming.

How to Identify a Gerund?

To identify a gerund, you need to know the details of what a noun is and where a noun can be used in a sentence.

It should also be noted that a gerund is not used to refer to all types of nouns. Nouns that express the name of any kind of work or activity can only be used as a gerund.

You can also apply a trick to identify a gerund. That is:

  • Ask a question with the word ‘what’ on the verb. If there is a gerund, you will get a logically satisfactory answer. That means, a gerund answers the question ‘what’.
  • If you find an ‘-ing verb’ after a preposition, you can be sure of its being a gerund.

This is a quick and easy way to identify gerunds. 


  • Walking is good for elderly persons.
  • Writing poems is my favorite hobby.
  • Learning a second language is not that difficult.
  • I love learning a second language.
  • His lecture is about learning a second language.

Uses of a Gerund in the Sentences:

Gerunds can mainly be used in ten different places in a sentence. They are:

  1. As a subject of a verb
  2. As an object of a transitive verb
  3. As an object of a preposition
  4. Before a noun to form a compound noun
  5. After a ‘be’ verb as its complement
  6. After a possessive adjective
  7. After phrasal verbs
  8. After some opinion or expressions
  9. After ‘go’ to express some kind of recreational activities
  10. No + gerund to express prohibition

1. -As a Subject of a Verb:

Just like a noun, a gerund can be a subject of a verb. It is also to be remembered that a gerund + some other words can form the complete subject of a verb. In this case, as well, the keyword of that complete subject will always be a gerund.


  • Reading is a good habit for understanding our life. [Gerund is the subject.]
  • Dancing is good for keeping your body fit. [Gerund is the subject.]
  • Smoking is bad for human health. [Gerund is the subject.]
  • Doing homework is quite boring for me. [‘Gerund + homework’ is the complete subject. The keyword ‘doing’ is a gerund.]
  • Brushing your teeth regularly will keep you happy and smart. [‘Gerund + your teeth regularly’ is the complete subject. The keyword ‘brushing’ is a gerund.]
  • Smoking in public places is strictly forbidden. [‘Gerund + in public places’ is the complete subject. The keyword ‘smoking’ is a gerund.]

2. -As an Object of a Transitive Verb:

Just like a noun, a gerund can be a object of a verb. It is also to be remembered that a gerund + some other words can form the complete object of a verb. In this case, as well, the keyword of that complete object will always be a gerund.


  • I love jogging to keep my body fit.
  • William loves eating bananas after a workout.
  • Mark enjoys listening to music.
  • Flora hates cooking.
  • I enjoy watching television news.
  • They intentionally avoided meeting me.

This way, the verbs that are followed by gerund are:

admit, appreciate, avoid, begin, consider, contemplate, continue, complete, deny, delay, dislike, enjoy, finish, forgive, hate, imagine, intend, like love, mention, mind, postpone, prefer, quit, recall, recommend, regret, resist, risk, stop, suggest, tolerate, try.

3. -As an Object of a Preposition:

As an object of a preposition, a gerund can be used.


  • I am excited about going to India.
  • The benefit of reading a lot is getting a huge vocabulary.
  • Our college principal is devoted to working hard.
  • After finishing his studies, he went to sleep.
  • He will not eat his dinner before finishing his studies.
  • My son is interested in learning new things.

4. – Before a Noun to Form a Compound Noun:

A lot of expressions are formed with gerund + noun to clarify the meaning of a noun as a whole.


  • I am going to the swimming pool for practising swimming.
  • Yesterday, my friend bought a gorgeous washing machine.
  • I am very thirsty. Do you have a drinking water bottle in your bag?
  • I am going to buy running shoes for running in the morning.

5. – After a ‘Be’ Verb as its Complement:

The gerund can be used as the complement of the verb ‘to be’ when the verb ‘to be’ is used in a sentence as a finite verb.


  • My biggest fear was passing the English test.
  • My favorite activity is listening to pop music.
  • His resolution for the new year is finding a good job.
  • My favorite sport is swimming.
  • William’s passion is singing.
  • His occupation is writing reports in newspapers.

6. – After a Possessive Adjective:

We can use a possessive adjective with a gerund. That is, a possessive adjective can be used before a gerund.


  • Mark’s getting good marks in English made his teachers happy.
  • Your staying here to help your friend was a good decision.
  • I did not like her singing that song.
  • Everybody appreciated his coming and staying here to support his friend.
  • Her dancing was so beautiful that nobody could take away their eyes from her.
  • Nobody liked his going away leaving his father alone.
  • That day I loved her talking and smiling.
  • Please forgive our talking too much at the party.
  • I think you didn’t mind my borrowing your book.
  • I had not anticipated my son’s arriving so early.

7. – After Phrasal Verbs:

The phrasal verb means a combination of verbs and prepositions to form a new meaning. For example, keep on or go on means continue. The phrasal verb is followed by a gerund.


  • Mark looked into finding new ways of learning English.
  • I could not get over having a problem with my friend.
  • Students had to put off going on their study tour for covid-19.
  • These children are growing up learning new and exciting things.
  • Mark started out doing a new job this month.
  • Our teachers are looking forward to doing good results in the exam.

8. – After Some Opinion or Expressions:

A gerund is used after some expressions such as can’t help, can’t stand, to be worth, and it’s no use, it’s been a pleasure, etc.


  • I could not help telling the secrets of their plan.
  • I can’t stand people smoking near me.
  • I can’t stand telling lies.
  • That might be worth doing that job before you get another one.
  • It will be no use crying for help and sympathy.
  • It has been a pleasure meeting you.

9. – After ‘Go’ to Express Some Kind of Activities:

After the verb word ‘go’, the gerund is can be used to express the name of some kind of recreational activity or hobby. In this case, this ‘go + gerund’ is used as an idiom. Here ‘go’ cannot be separated from the ‘verb-ing’ word, and the ‘verb-ing cannot be separated from ‘go’. That is, this ‘go + gerund’ is used as an idiom.


  • The boys went swimming in the river.
  • They are going fishing in the river.
  • I will go shopping with my friend.
  • Do you have any plan for going camping later this year?

10. – No + Gerund:

‘No + gerund’ is used to tell somebody to refrain from doing some kind of work. That is, the gerund can be used in short prohibitions.


  • No parking. [Where the parking is not allowed.]
  • No hooting.  [Loud high sound is prohibited.]
  • No smoking. [Smoking is not allowed.]
  • No talking. [Talking is not allowed.]
  • No whining. [Long, highsad sound is not allowed.]
  • No complaining. [No complaint will be accepted.]
  • No criticizing. [No criticism is allowed.]

Rezaul Karim

Hi, my name is Rezaul Karim. I am an English teacher and founder of LearnEnglishWithRezaul.com. I work with non-native English learners to help them understand English grammar from basic to intermediate. I also help them improve their conversation skills, and communication ability and reduce their accent. I hope you may like my posts on this website, and if you really really feel that this page/website is useful for English learners, please happily share it for others to know.

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