Home / English Lessons / Gerunds: -ing action words in English | English Grammar Lesson

Gerunds: -ing action words in English | English Grammar Lesson

Updated!

Listen to the audio:

…or watch the video!:

In English, we are not limited to using just one verb, but we can use two verbs together [verb + infinitive].

Examples

  • “I like to eat sushi.”
  • “I like to read books.”
  • “I like to buy clothes”

Notice the structure of the answers:

subject (noun) + verb + infinitive (2nd verb) + object (noun)

Now….

What if I asked you: 

You could NOT say:

  • I enjoy to listen* to music on the weekends.”
  • I enjoy to cook* dinner on the weekends.”

Instead, you would have to say:

  • I enjoy listening to music on the weekends.”
  • I enjoy cooking dinner on the weekends.”

So, why “listening” instead of “to listen”?

These -ing words are called gerunds.

When to Use a Gerund

3 types of Verbs in English

  1. Verbs that can only be followed by infinitives [to + verb]
    • Example: “I want to go to school today.”
  2. Verbs that can only be followed by gerunds  [verb + -ing]
    • Example: “I enjoy going to school.”
  3. Verbs that can be followed by either infinitives or gerunds
    • Example: I like to go/going to school.”

So, the verb used in the sentence would tell you whether to use an infinitive or a gerund following it.

Are Gerunds Verbs?

Gerunds are funny — they look like verbs, they sound like verbs, they seem like verbs…. but they are not verbs — they’re nouns! Specifically, gerunds are action-oriented verb-like words that function as nouns.

Why is that important?

English is an SVO language. English sentences must have the word order of:

Subject – Verb – Object

Because gerunds are nouns–and not verbs–they can move around to different locations in a sentence, including acting as:

  • a subject (SVO)
  • an object (SVO)
  • following a preposition

Whereas a verb must be between the subject and the object [SVO], so a verb’s movement in the sentence is very limited.

Because gerunds are nouns and can move in a sentence, they give you greater flexibility in expressing yourself, as opposed to the verb, which is stuck in that one spot (SVO).

Got it?

Let’s practice. And also notice how I stress and de-stress certain words, and how I connect my speech in the examples.

Listen and Repeat

  • Jogging is important for your health.” <– gerund as subject.
  • “I look forward to meeting you soon.” <– gerund as object.
  • “I adore swimming in the ocean at sunset.” <– gerund as object.
  • “I avoid walking alone at night as much as I can.” <– gerund as object.
  • “Please consider giving a donation.” <– gerund as object.
  • Buying some new clothes will definitely cheer her up.” <– gerund as subject.
  • “I don’t recall telling her I would meet her tonight.” <– gerund as object. (Notice how I deleted the “h” in the second “her”).

Verbs followed by Gerunds (-ing)

  • admit
  • adore
  • anticipate
  • appreciate
  • avoid
  • carry on
  • consider
  • contemplate
  • delay
  • deny
  • describe
  • detest
  • dislike
  • enjoy
  • escape
  • fancy
  • feel
  • finish
  • give
  • hear
  • imagine
  • include
  • justify
  • listen to
  • mention
  • mind
  • miss
  • notice
  • observe
  • perceive
  • postpone
  • practice
  • quit
  • recall
  • report
  • resent
  • resume
  • risk
  • see
  • sense
  • sleep
  • stop
  • suggest
  • tolerate
  • watch

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Elemental English podcast on iTunes. And please leave 

And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

ElementalEnglish.com is your resource for free English language and pronunciation lessons, 無料オンライン英語教材, 免费在线英文课程, 免費在線英文課程, मुफ़्त ऑनलाइन अंग्रेज़ी, آنلائن مفت میں انگریزی سیکھئے, Kostenloser Englisch-Unterricht Online, Język angielski online, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles sa Internet, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles Online, دروس في اللغة الانجليزية على الانترنت مجانا, Lecciones gratuitas de Ingles Americano, cursuri online gratis de limba engleza, เรียนภาษาอังกฤษออนไลน์ ฟรี, American English pronunciation, アメリカ英語の発音, 纯正美语发音, 純正美語發音, अमरीकी अंग्रेज़ी, امریکی انگریزی کا تلفّظ سیکھئے, Amerikanisches Englisch Aussprache, wymowa język angielski, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Wastong Pagbigkas ng American English sa Internet, astong Pagbigkas ng, تعلم اللهجة الامريكية على الانترنت, American English Online, Pronunciacion de Ingles Americano en linea, pronuntie engleza americana online, บทเรียน การออกเสียงภาษาอังกฤษ สำหรับคนไทย

2 comments

  1. A very helpful lesson 
    What about the Words: boring,interesting, frustrating,…etc.
    I think they are not gerund because when I omit (ing) they will be nouns not a verbs , right ?

    I hope I master this subject, thank you.

    • Hi Abir! Sorry, I realized you didn’t get a response to this question.

      “Boring”, “interesting” and “frustrating” are adjectives. Specifically, they are “participial adjectives.” These -ing words describe the people or things that cause people to feel a certain way. So, they are related to emotions.

      For example:

        “That lecture was boring.” < -- The lecture caused boredom for the speaker.
      “His new girlfriend is really interesting.” < -- his girlfriend peaks the interest of the speaker.
      “It’s an interesting time in history to be alive.”
      “This math problem is so frustrating. I’m about to give up.” <-- the math problem makes the speaker feel frustrated. Does that help? Let me know!

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.