What do you know about the Gerund?

The Gerund is a non-finite form of the verb which has noun and verb characteristics.

The verb characteristics of the gerund are as follows:

  • the Gerund of transitive verbs takes a direct object: I like reading books. She began preparing food. I remember reading this book.
  • the Gerund can be modified by an adverb: She continued listening attentively. He likes reading aloud.
  • the Gerund has Perfect and Non-perfect forms and the forms of the Passive Voice (if the corresponding verb is used in the Passive Voice)

The Forms of the Gerund

Active Passive
Simple (Indefinite) writing being written
Perfect having written having been written

The Perfect Gerund expresses an action prior to that denoted by the finite verb:

Thank you for having helped me. I remember having shown her the letter.

The Indefinite Gerund is used:

  • if the action expressed by the gerund is simultaneous with that expressed by the finite verb: He sat without turning his head. She is interested in collecting stamps. He likes inviting his friends to his house. I was quite disappointed at not finding him there. I was surprised at hearing this.
  • if the action expressed by the gerund does not refer to any particular time: Swimming is a good exercise. Seeing is believing.

After the verbs to intend, to suggest, to insist, etc. the Indefinite Gerund expresses an action which is future with regard to that denoted by the finite verb:

He had intended writing him. He insisted on telling her how it happened.

After the verbs to thank, to forget, to remember, to excuse, to apologize, etc. and after the prepositions on and after the Indefinite Gerund expresses an action prior to that denoted by the finite verb:

Thank you for helping me. I don’t remember seeing either of them. On receiving the telegram we went to the station to meet our friends. On receiving the answer of the firm we handed all the documents to our legal adviser. After concluding the contract, the representative of the firm left Kyiv.

The Gerund is used in the Active Voice if the noun or pronoun it refers to denotes the subject of the action expressed by the Gerund: Mary couldn’t helping laughing.

The Gerund is used in the Passive Voice if the noun or pronoun it refers to is an object of the action expressed by the Gerund: He has right to come without being invited. He entered the room without being noticed. I remember having been shown the letter.

The noun characteristics of the Gerund are as follows:

  • the Gerund can be used in the sentence as subject, predicative and object: Smoking is harmful. His hobby is collecting stamps. He likes talking to me. She is fond of painting.
  • the Gerund can be preceded by a preposition which refers to it: Nobody thought of going to bed. There are different ways of solving this problem. He has no objection to being sent there.
  • the Gerund can be modified by a possessive pronoun and by a noun in the Possessive Case: Would you mind my opening the window? I insist on my sister’s staying at home

The Gerund is the only form of the verb which can be preceded by a preposition that refers to it; so the Gerund is used after verbs, adjectives and expressions which require a prepositional object: Thank you for telling me. She couldn’t keep from crying. I am fond of reading.

After a number of verbs the Gerund is used without a preposition; some of them can be followed both by the Gerund and the Infinitive while after others the Gerund is the only possible non-finite form of the verb.

The Gerund is used after such verbs as:

to avoid, to finish, to suggest, to leave off, to give up, to go on, to keep on, cannot help, to enjoy, to excuse, to forgive, to put off, to postpone, to delay, to fancy, to mind: We finished dressing. They went on eating. I cannot help asking. Mary left off ironing. I don’t mind telling you. Fancy going for a walk in such weather! (Уявіть собі прогулянку в таку погоду!)

After the verbs to want, to need, to require and adjective worth the Active Gerund is used with the passive meaning:

The house wants repairing. (Будинок потребує ремонту.)

The book is worth reading. (Книгу варто прочитати.)

My shoes need repairing. This dress wants washing. These bags require drying.

The house wants repairing.

Both the Gerund and the Infinitive are used after such verbs as: to begin, to start, to continue, to propose, to like, to refuse, to intend, to forget, to prefer, to stop:

The children began playing. Then they began to whisper.

She continued sitting motionless. He continued to live with his parents.

He stopped reading the notice. He stopped to read the notice.

As an attribute the Gerund is always preceded by a preposition if it stands after the modified noun:

We discussed different methods of teaching English. Have you any reason for saying such a thing?

astonishment at – здивування у
My jaw dropped in astonishment at seeing the size of the audience. Imagine my astonishment at meeting Peter in the cafe.

hope of – надія на
He’s in the hope of succeeding. The entrepreneur takes business risks in the hope of making a profit. They went into politics in the hope of changing society.

disappointment at – розчарування в
She was unable to hide her bitter disappointment at failing the final exam. The sportsman felt disaapointment at reaching the final the second.

idea of – ідея
The idea of having a surprise party was Jane’s. The idea of dividing the area into four sectors, sounded good.

surprise at – здивування в
He realized surprise at discovering an island. We felt surprise at being annouced of her leaving the post.

importance of – важливість
Psychological and sociological studies were emphasizing the importance of having a family. We discussed the importance of learning English. 

apology for – вибачення за
I must offer them an apology for not going to attend their meeting. I think I owe you an apology for being rather bad-tempered yesterday.

intention of – намір
She stated categorically that she had no intention of leaving. He never had the slightest intention of agreeing to it.  I began reading with the intention of finishing the book, but I never did.

plan for – план на
Environmental groups have plan for organizing public protests during the conference. The plan for buying clothes online has been changed.

means of – засоби
There are ways and means of raising the money that we need. Newspapers have ways and means of getting hold of secret information.

preparation for – підготовка до
Careful preparation for taking an exam is essential. Experience is their preparation for giving advice. There was a lot of activity in preparation for meeting the guests.

method of – метод
There are different methods of teaching a foreign language. He invented a new method of making bread.

reason for – причина для
There are several reasons for visiting London. He’s got many reasons for applying for this job.

necessity of – необхідність
We have a necessity of drinking water. You must understand the necessity of getting education. There’s no necessity of your coming earlier.

experience in – досвід в
It was his first experience in trying to climb the mountain. He has ten-year experience in working for an international company.

pleasure of – задоволення від
I had the pleasure of cooking dinner. We enjoy the simple pleasure of gazing into the distance at dusk. She took pleasure in shocking her parents.

interest in – інтерес
She has keen interest in studying Boilogy. There is great interest in attracting new families with young children in order to keep the school open.

possibility of – можливість
There is always a possibility of getting carsick or airsick. We discussed the possibility of moving to another city.

skill in – вміння в
His skill in applying color and gilding is remarkable.His skill in learning and aptitude for science took him to Edinburgh University.

problem of – проблема
They helped in solving the problem of drinking fresh water. Most students face the problem of funding themselves while they are studying.

art of – мистецтво
The art of cutting paper into decorative designs is known as Scherenschnitte, which means “scissor cuts” in German. Girls generally received instruction from their mothers in the art of spinning and sewing.

process of – процес
Seaweed collecting is the process of collecting, drying and pressing seaweed. He found the process of booking the flight online convenient.

chance of – шанс
There was no chance of seeing him again. She got a chance of visiting London.

right of – право на
We got right of advertising our plan. They realised their right of choosing their future career.

opportunity of – можливість
Every day, I have the opportunity of surfing the Internet at home. They may use the opportunity of studying abroad.

way of – спосіб
It was her subtle way of telling me to mind my own business. Historically, the Cossack way of living was one of disorder and individualism.

fear of – страх перед
She had fear of making the wrong decision. He doesn’t place his Siamese kitten along with the Persians, apparently for fear of cross-breeding.

objection to – заперечення проти
I have no objection to his coming. It was evident that there was no great objection to visiting them in the country.

habit of – звичка до
She has a habit of retelling stories. He has a habit of leaving coins in his pants. His habit of daily blogging was hard to break.

She’s got a habit of running every morning.

In the function of adverbial modifiers the Gerund is always preceded by a preposition:

They ate without talking. You will improve your pronunciation by reading aloud every day.

Besides being clever, he is very industrious. Instead of writing the letter himself, he asked his friend to do it.

A Gerundial Complex consists of a noun in the Possessive Case or a possessive pronoun and a gerund which stands in predicate relation to the noun or pronoun:

They were afraid of my finding out the truth. They told us of Peter’s coming there.

The first part of a gerundial complex can also be expressed by a noun in the Common Case or a personal pronoun in the Objective Case:

I remember his sister taking part in the concert. I do not like him going there.

Gerundial complexes are used in the functions of:

  • subject: Your coming here is very desirable. It’s no use my telling you a lie.
  • object:Forgive my saying I insist upon your staying.
  • attribute:  I don’t know the reason of your leaving.
  • adverbial modifier:  I entered the room without his seeing.

The ing-form of a verb may be not only a participle and a gerund but also a verbal noun.

Unlike the gerund the verbal noun has no verbal characteristics. The verbal noun does not take a direct object; it is modified by an adjective (not by an adverb like the gerund):

I like rapid reading. I was awakened by their loud talking.

Unlike the Gerund the verbal noun can be used in the plural, with an article and with demonstrative pronouns: He took part in the sittings of the committee. They started the loading of the ship.

There is no Gerund in Ukrainian. The Gerund is rendered in Ukrainian in the following ways:

by an infinitive: I thought of coming to see you.

by a noun:He liked riding, rowing and fencing.

by adverbial participle: She changed the room by painting the walls green.

by a finite form of the verb the predicate of a subordinate clause: Excuse my leaving you.

Common Preposition Combinations Followed by Gerunds

    • be excited about: He is excited about reading.
    • be worried about
    • complain about / of
    • dream about / of
    • talk about / of
    • think about / of
    • apologize for
    • blame (someone) for
    • forgive (someone) for
    • have an excuse for
    • have a reason for
    • be responsible for
    • thank (someone) for
    • keep (someone) from
    • prevent (someone) from
    • prohibit (someone) from
    • stop (someone) from
    • believe in
    • be interested in
    • participate in
    • succeed in
    • be accused of
    • be capable of
    • for the purpose of
    • be guilty of
    • instead of
    • take advantage of
    • take care of
    • be tired of
    • insist on
    • be accustomed to
    • in addition to
    • be committed to
    • be devoted to
    • look forward to
    • object to
    • be opposed to
    • be used to
    • be scared of
    • be terrified of

    He would like to succeed in learning languages.

     Complete the sentences with an appropriate preposition and verb form.

    1. Alice isn’t interested ______(look) ___________ for a new job.
    2. Henry is excited ________ (leave) ____________ for India.
    3. You are capable _______ (do) _________ better work.
    4. I have no excuse _______(be) _________ late.
    5. I’m accustomed ________(have) _________ a big breakfast.
    6. The rain prevented us _______(complete) __________the work.
    7. Fred is always complaining _______ (have) __________ a headache.
    8. Instead _______ (study) ___________, Margaret went to a ballgame with some of her friends.
    9. Thank you ________ (help) __________ me carry my suitcase.
    10. Mrs. Grant insisted ________ (know) ___________ the whole truth.
    11. I believe ______ (be) __________ honest at all times.
    12. You should take advantage _____(live) ___________ here.
    13. Sue had a good reason _______ (go, not) ______________to class yesterday.
    14. Everyone in the neighborhood participated ______ (search) ___________ for the lost child.
    15. I apologized to Yoko _______ (make) __________ her wait for me.
    16. The weather is terrible tonight. I don’t blame you _______ (want, not) _____________ to go to the meeting.
    17. Who is responsible _______ (wash) _________ and (dry) ___________ the dishes after dinner?
    18. In addition ________ (go) __________ to school full time, Sam has a part-time job.
    19. I stopped the child _______ (run) _________ into the street.
    20. Where should we go for dinner tonight? Would you object _______ (go) ____________ to an Indian restaurant?
    21. The mayor made another public statement for the purpose ______ (clarify) ___________ the new tax proposal.
    22. The thief was accused ____ (steal) ___________ a woman’s purse.
    23. The jury found Mr. Adams guilty _____ (take) _________ money from the company he worked for and (keep) _________ it for himself.
    24. Larry isn’t used ______ (wear) ___________ a suit and tie every day.
    25. I’m going to visit my family during the school vacation. I’m looking forward _____ (eat) ___________ my mother’s cooking and (sleep) ___________ in my own bed.

    Create sentences from the given words, using any tense and subject.

    Example: enjoy + read the newspaper – I enjoy reading the newspaper every morning while I’m having my first cup of coffee.

    • enjoy + watch TV
    • mind + open the window
    • quit + eat desserts
    • finish + eat desserts
    • give up + eat desserts
    • finish + eat dinner
    • get through + eat breakfast
    • stop + rain
    • avoid + answer my question
    • postpone + do my work
    • delay + leave on vacation
    • keep + work
    • keep on + work
    • consider + get a job
    • think about + get a job
    • discuss + go to a movie
    • talk about + go to a movie
    • mention + go to a concert
    • suggest + go on a picnic
    • enjoy + listen to music

    She enjoys listening to music.

    Go + Gerund

    Go is followed by a gerund in certain idiomatic expressions to express, for the most part, recreational activities: Did you go shopping? We went fishing yesterday.

    • go birdwatching
    • go boating
    • go bowling
    • go camping
    • go canoeing
    • go kayaking
    • go dancing
    • go fishing
    • go hiking
    • go hunting
    • go jogging
    • go mountain climbing
    • go running
    • go sailing
    • go shopping
    • go sightseeing
    • go skating
    • go skateboarding
    • go skiing
    • go skinny-dipping
    • go sledding
    • go snorkeling
    • go swimming
    • go tobogganing
    • go window shopping

    Special Expressions followed by Gerund 

    -ing forms follow certain special expressions:

    have fun + -ing : We had fun playing football.

    have a good time + -ing: We had a good time dancing.

    have trouble + -ing: I had trouble finding his house.

    have difficulty + -ing: I had difficulty solving the problem.

    have a hard time + -ing: We had a hard time working in the garden.

    have a difficult time + -ing: They have a difficult time commuting to and from work.

    spend + expression of time or money + -ing: Sam spends most of his time studying.

    waste + expression of time or money + -ing: I waste a lot of time watching TV. We wasted our money going to that movie. It was very boring.

    sit + expression of place + -ing: She sat ay her desk writing a letter.

    stand + expression of place + -ing: I stood there wondering what to do next.

    lie + expression of place + -ing: He is lying in bed reading a novel.

    find + (pro)noun + -ing: When I walked into my office, I found George using my telephone.

    catch + (pro)noun + -ing: When I walked into my office, I caught a thief looking through my desk drawers. I caught her smoking in the bathroom.

     Create sentences from the given verb combinations.


    • have a difficult time + understand – I have a difficult time understanding the teacher’s explanations in calculus.
    • spend (time) + polish – The soldier spent an hour polishing his boots.
    1. have trouble + remember
    2. stand (place) + wait
    3. have a hard time + learn
    4. sit (place) + think
    5. have a good time + play
    6. lie (place) + dream
    7. have difficulty + pronounce
    8. have fun + sing and dance
    9. find (someone) + study
    10. spend (time) + chat
    11. waste (money) + try
    12. catch (someone) + take

    She was lying on the beach dreaming about a fantastic fairyland.

     Reference List of Verbs Followed by Gerunds

    Verbs with a bullet (•) can also be followed by Infinitives

    admit     He admitted stealing the money. She admitted having driven the car without insurance.

    anticipate     I anticipate having a good time on vacation. They anticipate moving to bigger premises by the end of the year.

    advise•      She advised waiting until tomorrow.  I’d advise buying your tickets in advance if you want to travel in August.

    appreciate     I appreciated hearing from them.  I appreciate having the opportunity to discuss these important issues with you.

    avoid     He avoided answering my questions. They built a wall to avoid soil being washed away.

    cant bear•     I can’t bear waiting in long lines. I couldn’t bear not seeing him again.

    begin•    It began raining. I began teaching in 1990.

    complete      I finally completed writing my term paper. They completed designing their house.

    consider    We will consider going with you.

    continue•     He continued speaking.

    delay      She delayed answering the letter.

    deny     She denied committing the crime.

    discuss        They discussed opening a new business.

    dislike         I dislike driving long distances.

    enjoy       We enjoyed visiting them.

    finish      She finished studying about ten.

    forget•      I never forget visiting Napoleon’s tomb.

    hate•       I hate making silly mistakes.

    can’t help      I can’t help worrying about it.

    keep      I keep hoping he will come.

    like•      I like going to movies.

    love•       I love going to operas.

    mention      She mentioned going to a movie.

    mind      Would you mind helping me with this?

    miss      I miss being with my family.

    postpone      Let’s postpone leaving until tomorrow.

    practice      The athlete practiced throwing the ball.

    prefer•     Ann prefers walking to driving to work.

    quit      He quit trying to solve the problem.

    recall      I don’t recall meeting him before.

    recollect      I don’t recollect meeting him before.

    recommend       She recommended seeing the show.

    regret•      I regret telling him my secret.

    remember•      I can remember meeting him when I was a child.

    resent      I resent her interfering in my business.

    resist      I couldn’t resist eating the dessert.

    risk      She risks losing all of her money.

    can’t stand•      I can’t stand waiting in long lines.

    start•     It started raining.

    stop•    She stopped going to classes when she got sick.

    suggest     She suggested going to a movie.

    tolerate      She won’t tolerate cheating during an examination.

    try•      I tried changing the light bulb, but the lamp still didn’t work.

    understand      I don’t understand his leaving school.

    Common Verbs Followed by either Infinitives or Gerunds

    The following verbs may be followed by either an infinitive or a gerund with little or no difference in meaning:

    • begin
    • like
    • hate
    • start
    • love
    • can’t stand
    • continue
    • prefer
    • can’t bear

     It began to rain. / It began raining.  I started to work. / I started working.

    If the main verb is progressive, an infinitive (not a gerund) is usually used: It was beginning to rain.

    Verb + Infinitive or Gerund with a difference in meaning:

    remember     forget       regret       try

    Remember + Infinitive = remember to perform responsibility, duty or task: Judy always remembers to lock the door.

    Remember + Gerund = remember (recall) something that happened in the past: I remember seeing the Alps for the first time. The sight was impressive.

    Forget + Infinitive = forget to perform a responsibility, duty, or task: Sam often forgets to lock the door.

    Forget + Gerund = forget something that happened in the past: I’ll never forget seeing the Alps for the first time.

    Regret + Infinitive = regret to say, to tell someone, to inform someone of some bad news: I regret to tell you that you failed the test.

    Regret + Gerund = regret something that happened in the past: I regret lending him some money. He never paid me back.

    Try + Infinitive = make an effort: I’m trying to learn English.

    Try + Gerund = experiment with a new or different approach to see if it works: The room was hot. I tried opening the window, but that didn’t help. So I tried turning on the fan, but it was still hot. Finally, I turned on the air conditioner.

     Notice the patterns with prefer:

    Prefer + Gerund: I prefer staying home to going to the concert.

    Prefer + Infinitive: I’d prefer to stay home rather than (to) go to the concert.

    Complete the sentences with the correct form(s) of the verb in parentheses.

    Example: I like (go) to the zoo. I like to go / going to the zoo.

    1. The play wasn’t very good. The audience (start) ___________________ before it was over.
    2. After a brief interruption, the professor continued (lecture) __________________.
    3. The children love (swim) __________________ in the ocean.
    4. I hate (see) _______________ any living being suffer. I can’t bear it.
    5. I’m afraid of flying. When a plane begins (move) ____________________ down the runway, my heart starts (race) __________________. Oh-oh! The plane is beginning (move) __________________, and my heart is starting (race) ____________________.
    6. When I travel, I prefer (drive) ____________________ to (take) _________________ a plane.
    7. I prefer (drive) _______________ rather than (take) ___________________ a plane.
    8. I always remember (turn) ___________________ off all the lights before I leave my house.
    9. I can remember (be) ________________ very proud and happy when I graduated.
    10. Did you remember (give) ___________________ Jake my message?
    11. I remember (play) ___________________ with dolls when I was a child.
    12. What do you remember (do) ________________ when you were a child?
    13. What do you remember (do) _________________ before you leave for class every day?
    14. What did you forget (do) _________________ before you left for class this morning?
    15. I’ll never forget (carry) _______________ my wife over the threshold when we moved into our first home.
    16. I can’t ever forget (watch) __________________ our team score the winning goal in the last seconds of the championship game.
    17. Don’t forget (do) ______________ your homework tonight!
    18. I regret (inform) ______________ you that your loan application has not been approved.
    19. I regret (listen, not) _______________ to my father’s advice. He was right.
    20. When a student ask a question, the teacher always tries (explain) ________________ the problem as clearly as possible.
    21. I tried everything, but the baby still wouldn’t stop crying. I tried (hold) _______________ him, but that didn’t help. I tried (feed) _____________ him, but he refused the food and continued to cry. I tried (burp) _____________ him. I tried (change) _____________ his diapers. Nothing worked. The baby wouldn’t stop crying.