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].
- “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)
What if I asked you:
- “What do you enjoy doing on the weekends?” (Notice how my intonation went down).
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
- Verbs that can only be followed by infinitives [to + verb]
- Example: “I want to go to school today.”
- Verbs that can only be followed by gerunds [verb + -ing]
- Example: “I enjoy going to school.”
- 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).
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)
- carry on
- listen to
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