The Joys of Gerunds

Mar 9, 2008 | Grammar and Usage, Proofreading

The Joys of Gerunds

An important key to having your creative writing published is to use proper grammar. In this article you will come to better understand English grammar through one commonly used verb form: gerunds.

What is a gerund? Does the definition have something to do with Jer’s errands? Well, if his legs are tired from all the running, then running is the gerund! Let us explain.

Quite simply, a gerund is a word that has -ing added to a base verb, which is the present participle of a verb. The difference is that gerunds are used as nouns. (Driving is required.) When the verb in the -ing form is used as a verb or an adjective, it is usually a present participle. (She was fishing for compliments.)

Reading, writing, and thinking are things you may do when you see this article. In fact, in that last sentence, we used a gerund phrase as the subject of the sentence.

Submit to Review Board

Here are other examples of how gerunds function:

1. Object of a preposition: After brushing her teeth, she went to bed.
**Be careful not to dangle the gerund.
Right: After learning the specifics, he could make plans easily. (He learns.)
Wrong: After learning the specifics, plans were easily made. (Plans do not learn.)

2. Object of a verb: She loves singing in the shower.

3. Subject of a verb: Writing is a difficult task.

4. Subject complement with a linking verb: His errors were making him crazy.

5. Possessive noun: One of my pet peeves is hearing his singing to the radio.
Wrong: One of my pet peeves is hearing him singing to the radio.

6. In a passive sense (used after the verbs want, need, or require): This house needs cleaning.

7. After a preposition—if you use a verb after a preposition, you must use a gerund (no exceptions): Please sign the memo before leaving.

For writing services, including proofreading, formatting, and submission strategies, visit Writer’s Relief online.