I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fond of gerunds.
Gerunds are simple to identify and use. A gerund is a verb ending in –ing that is used as a noun. That’s it. You use them all the time. For example:
- Jogging is an excellent way to exercise.
- I love watching the news.
- I went dancing with my friends.
NOTE: Just because you have an –ing ending verb, does NOT mean you have a gerund. The key to gerunds are that they have both the –ing ending AND they function as a noun.
Because a gerund functions as a noun, it can be the subject of the sentence, a direct object, a subject complement, or even the object of a preposition.
- Subject: Running from the police is not smart.
- Direct Object: The police do not appreciate people running from them.
- Subject complement: Someone who is running from the police can expect to be chased.
- Object of a Preposition: That guy was arrested for running from the police.
Punctuating gerunds is easy… don’t do it. Gerunds rarely require any special punctuation.
For practice, underline the gerunds in the following sentences. If you’re already an expert, identify the gerund phrase and how the gerund is functioning in the sentence. You can see the answers by scrolling down the page.
- Swimming keeps me in shape.
- Swimming in your pool is always fun.
- Telling your father was a mistake.
- The college recommends sending applications early.
- He won the game by scoring during the overtime period.
- Her most important achievement was winning the national championship.
- Going to work today took all my energy.
- Fighting for a losing cause made them depressed.
- Swimming keeps me in shape. [subject]
- Swimming in your pool is always fun. [subject]
- Telling your father was a mistake. [subject]
- The college recommends sending applications early. [direct object]
- He won the game by scoring during the overtime period. [object of preposition]
- Her most important achievement was winning the national championship. [subject complement]
- Going to work today took all my energy. [subject]
- Fighting for a losing cause made them depressed. [subject]