Common Errors in English

The Gerund

A Gerund is that particular form of the verb which ends in ‘-ing’ and has the effect of a noun and a verb. they are also known as ‘verbal noun’ or ‘verb-noun’.

Since both infinitive and gerund have the force of a noun and a verb, they have similar uses. Hence, in majority of the sentences, either of them can be used without a special difference in meaning. For instance;

Teach me to drive. or

Teach me driving.

Let us first understand a gerund, consider the following example;

Reading is her favorite pastime. (Here the word ‘reading’ is formed by the verb ‘read’ and ‘-ing’)

Gerunds, like infinitives are used as nouns, while still retaining the power that a verb has of governing another noun or pronoun.

Compound Gerund: are formed by placing a past participle after the Gerunds of ‘have’ and ‘be’. For instance;

I heard of her having gained a prize.

She is desirous of being praised.

Difference between Past participle and Gerund:

Since both Past Participle and the Gerund end with ‘-ing’, it is essential to distinguish between them. The Past Participle has the force of an Adjective and a Verb, while a Gerund has the force of a noun and a verb.

Example of Gerund: – He is fond of playing cricket.

Example of Past Participle: – Playing cricket, he gained health.

Uses of Gerund:

A gerund is a verbal noun, hence it may be used in the following five major ways:

1. Use of Gerund as the subject of a verb. Consider the following example;

Seeing is believing.

Hunting tiger is not allowed in this country.

2. A Gerund is used as the object of a transitive verb. Such as the following instance;

Stop crying.

I like reading prose.

She contemplated marrying her cousin.

3. The Gerund is used as the object of a preposition, as shown in the following examples below;

I am tired of playing.

She is fond of swimming.

She was punished for telling a lie.

I have an aversion to skating.

We were prevented from seeing the patient.

4. A Gerund is also used as a complement to a verb, to explain more about the verb. For instance;

What I most detest is smoking.

5. The Gerund is used absolutely, as explained in the following example:

Playing cards being her aversion, we did not play poker.the gerund

Rules for Gerunds:

The noun or pronoun preceding Gerund should always be in the Possessive case. For example;

My teacher got angry on my reading late in class.

He left for London without my knowing.

There are some verbs which are directly followed by a gerund. These are – avoid, escape, defer, detest, dislike, enjoy, finish, resist, mind, risk, resent, mind, practice, etc. Study the following examples carefully to understand this rule.

I could not resist laughing at his silly acrobats.

We won’t escape paying income tax.

Have you finished writing the book?

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