Gerund is a form of verb but used as a noun in English Language. Gerund is formed by adding ing to the main verb. Therefore, a verb ending in ing can operate as a gerund.
Usually, a learner may get confused Gerund with the Present Participle form of verb used in the Present Continuous Tense or Present Progressive.
You can see the difference in using Present Participle form of verb as a verb(1) and as a noun (2) in the following examples.
In the first sentence, the Present Participle form of the verb read = reading, functions as a verb where the complete verb of Present Continuous sentence here is “am reading”. The verb “reading” here defines the action which is going on at the moment.
In the second sentence, “Reading” functions as a noun. In this sentence, “reading” is the subject and the verb is “is”. The activity of “reading” in this sentence is referred to as a “thing” or a “concept”.
The meaning of Gerund in linguistics is any form of a non-finite verb in a language that can be used as a noun.
Gerund in English is also popularly known as;
Present Participle used as a Noun
The Present Participle Form of any action verb that functions as a noun is a gerund.
Let’s take a look at the different forms of any action verb to get this clarified.
(Simple Present Tense – Plural verb)
|eats||Simple Present Tense – Singular verb|
|eat + ing - eating||Present Participle Form|
|eaten||Past Participle Form|
Gerund is formed as follows.
A gerund along with its modifier, an object, or a complement is considered “gerund phrase”. Usually, the intended meaning is generated with the gerund along with its modifier.
Eg:- Gerund phrase is underlined in the following sentences.
As you can see, these verbs do not do the job of a verb which is denoting the action in the sentence. Instead, this verb form does the job of a noun. Let’s analyze the following sentences to get a better idea.
|Subject||verb||(noun =Gerund - Verbal Nouns)|
You have “the dress” in the first sentence and “dress” is a noun.
In the second sentence, you can see that the noun “dress” is substituted by a verbal noun “reading books”.
In the following examples, the ing form of the verb is used as a verb.
A gerund or a verbal noun can function as many important roles in a sentence. It can function as a subject, object, a complement (in the form of an adjective) or after a preposition.
|I||am||fond of reading books.|
Smoking = Nouns talking about actions
Usage - Notices displayed in public.
Infinitive to is the form of verb created with the stem / main verb with the preposition “to” .
Both the verb forms used in “Gerund” and the “Infinitive to” are considered as incomplete verb (Non-finite). One can confuse Gerund in place of “infinitive to” vice versa.
You can examine how “gerund” is used in one sentence and “Infinitive to” in the other. It is important to notice the difference in the style of the sentence.
|I like to learn English.||I like learning English.|
|I prefer to eat pizza.||I prefer eating pizza.|
|To smoke is injurious to health.||Smoking is injurious to health.|
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