Gerunds: What are they?

Any word that ends in ‘-ing’ can be a gerund. Why do I say can be and not is a gerund? That’s because such a word can also be a present participle.

Let’s see how we can differentiate between the two.

How to Differentiate Between a Gerund and a Present Participle

The Gerund is a noun formed from a verb and hence it can be a direct or indirect object, subject or subject complement and object of preposition.

For example:

  • Tina enjoys dancing more than reading.

(dancing – direct object of the verb enjoys)

  • Tina gives dancing all her time.

(dancing – indirect object of the verb gives)

  • Since Tina was ten years old, dancing has been her passion.

(dancing – subject of the verb has been)

  • Tina’s passion is dancing.

(dancing – subject complement of is)

  • Tina is devoted to dancing.

(dancing – object of preposition to)

The Present Participle, on the other hand, is used like a verb or adjective.

For example:

  • Tina is dancing.
  • I have a boring teacher.
  • Diana is fishing.

Both have the suffix ‘-ing’ and this can result in confusion. However, paying attention to details can prove to beneficial in your quest to learn English!




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