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


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: 

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

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  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!

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