A gerund is a verbal that uses the present participle of a verb (the ing form) but acts as a noun. It can act as a subject, a subject complement, a direct object, an indirect object, or an object of a preposition.
Reading is my favorite activity. (gerund as a subject)
Julie's best subject is writing. (gerund as a subject complement)
Carlos really enjoys biking. (gerund as a direct object)
Maria gives singing all her attention. (gerund as an indirect object)
I got this bruise from fencing. (gerund as the object of a preposition)
Watch out for present participles used as participles (adjectives).
Participle: Let's meet at the bowling alley. (Bowling describes alley.) Gerund: On the weekends, I go bowling. (Bowling is acting as a noun.)
A gerund phrase is the gerund plus its object and modifiers.
Reading mystery novels is my favorite activity. (gerund phrase as a subject)
Julie's best subject is creative writing. (gerund phrase as a subject complement)
Carlos really enjoys biking through the mountains. (gerund phrase as a direct object)
I got this bruise from fencing with my instructor. (gerund phrase as the object of a preposition)
If you're not sure if a word or phrase is a gerund, replace it with the word something. Since a gerund is a noun, replacing it with a pronoun should work.
Playing the banjo is a skill I am learning. Something is a skill I am learning.
Note: Because a gerund is a noun, it requires a possessive noun or pronoun before it.
Johnny'sswimming has improved this last year. Not:Johnnyswimming has improved this last year.
I think that ourswimming will be even better next year. Not: I think that usswimming will be even better next year.
Practice What You've Learned
Exercises are reserved for account holders. Please log in.