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Page history last edited by gretchen 11 years, 6 months ago


A verbal is a verb that functions as some other part of speech in a sentence. In the English language, there are three basic types of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.



Gerunds are verbals that function as nouns and have an –ing ending. Since gerunds are derived from verbs and have an –ing ending, they do express action. However, because gerunds function as nouns, they occupy slots traditionally held by nouns in sentences such as subjects, direct objects and objects of prepositions. Gerunds may occur as one word, or they may be part of a gerund phrase. Let’s take a look at some examples:


Gerund, functioning as subject

Reading is my most beneficial summer activity.


Gerund, functioning as direct object

James enjoys swimming.


Gerund, functioning as object of preposition

You will get good grades by studying.


Gerund phrase, functioning as subject

Eating on the run is one of the most unhealthy American habits.


Gerund phrase, functioning as direct object

The teacher simply cannot excuse sleeping during class.


Gerund phrase, functioning as object of preposition

We found the keys by looking on the ground next to the car.



To determine whether a word in a sentence is a gerund, look at the word(s) ending in –ing in the sentence. If this word can be replaced by the pronoun it, then the word is a gerund. If the word it replaces other words in addition to the gerund, then these make up the gerund phrase (Lester 177). Let’s take a look at an example: 

My grandfather loves getting together at Christmas

My grandfather loves it.



Additional Resources

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Comments (1)

gretchen said

at 8:53 pm on Mar 13, 2009

I would appreciate any additional resources that any of you would be willing to contribute.

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