In the last post of our How To category we discussed some tips and tricks of using the passive voice. Today we will take a closer at another element of English grammar that is often being misused and misunderstood — gerund. From the first glance gerund might seem like a simple construction but on practice student often apply it in wrong situations. Since a gerund is frequently used where an infinitive must have been, and vise versa, it is impossible to avoid also looking into some rules of the infinitive usage. If in one of your essays or other academic papers you use a gerund with a wrong verb, where an infinitive must have been used, it will mean minus points to your grade. In order to avoid making any gerund related mistakes in the future read this article and memorize all the rules or simply order professional editing service at our website. Our editors and proofreaders will make sure that gerund as well as other grammatical constructions is used properly in your document.
Gerund: general overview
First of all, before we proceed to learning rules about the gerund usage we need to understand what gerund is and what it isn’t. Gerund is a word that represents action but acts like a noun. It is a present participle of a verb, which is created by adding –ing ending to a verb. But gerund is not a verb and not a part of any verb tense. In a sentence gerund can be used as a subject, object or subject complement.
Gerund = Verb + -ing (running, sleeping, singing)
Learn gerund rules very fast
Gerund doesn’t have to scare or confuse you anymore. These rules are short and concise, and you can learn them very fast just by reading them only once. In case you don’t have time to learn grammar but you still want a good grade for your paper, remember that Royal Editing offers excellent editing and proofreading services for all types of academic papers, from essays to dissertations, for a very moderate price.
- Gerund as a subject. If you want to use some word that would express action as a subject of your sentence then you should use gerund. It is also possible to use infinitive, it won’t be grammatically incorrect but it is rather very formal and official way of writing. It might be appropriate in some types of academic papers. If you are not sure whether to use gerund or infinitive in a certain academic paper ask our editors, they will definitely know the right answer. Here are some examples of gerund being used as a subject:
- Gerund after a preposition. This rule is often overlooked by teachers but it can be very helpful for students who are not sure if they should place a gerund in the sentence. Thus if you have a preposition you can surly use a gerund after it like in these examples:
- Gerund after a verb. If you want to add to a verb another word that describes action you need to use either gerund or infinitive. Some verbs allow only gerunds to follow them while others work only with infinitive. There are also such verbs that can be followed either by gerund or by infinitive without the change of meaning, and those who can do the same but the meaning is different each time. You can review the comprehensive lists of the most commonly used verbs which are followed by gerund and infinitives at this web site, while we are going to focus only on few of them.
- Past form of gerund. Before me mentioned that gerund is not a verb and not a tense form of a verb, but nonetheless it can be used in the past form in order to name the action that happened in the past. A regular gerund comprises of verb+-ing, and a gerund that expresses the action in the past is formed by the use of past participle and gerundial form of the verb have: having + past participle = past form of gerund. Let’s compare some examples:
Learning gerund rules helps me to write better essays;
Smoking is a deadly habit to have;
Diving is a sport I dream to try.
I thought about going to the cinema, but then my friend came over;
He read a book on writing;
Helen bought this helmet for biking.
- Here are some of the verbs that followed only by gerund: admit, advise, allow, dislike, enjoy, fear, finish, give up (stop), miss, resist, suggest. For example:
- The verbs that can be followed by both gerund and infinitive without changing the meaning of the sentence: begin, can’t stand, love, like, hate, prefer, continue,
- And at last some verbs that can be followed either by gerund or by infinitive, but with a change in the meaning: forget, go on, quit, regret, remember, stop, try. See how the meaning changes in these examples:
She didn’t allow smoking in the apartment;
The student finished writing his essay;
Father suggested taking the kids to the zoo.
start. And their examples in use:
I can’t stand seeing him so sad. – I can’t stand to see him so sad;
She loves having all her children at home. – She loves to have all her children at home;
He continued walking despite the rain. – He continued to walk despite the rain.
She stopped seeing him. (She doesn’t see him anymore, maybe they had a fight);
She stopped to see him. (She interrupted some action in order to see him).
She regrets calling him. – She regrets having called him;
We argue about making a party. – We argue about having made the party.
How to avoid making gerund mistakes?
As you probably knew from your previous experience that gerund can sometimes be very confusing grammatical construction. But hopefully after reading these rules you understood that there is nothing to be afraid of and can apply those rules on practice right away. You should try to use all elements of grammar in your writing because it will make your language fuller and richer, and not avoid using some aspects like gerund or passive voice because you are not sure how to do it right. Try to apply gerund in your writing when you compose your next essay. If you need some inspirational ideas for topics you can borrow them from our free essay samples. But if however hard you try, you still can’t make friends with English grammar then don’t hesitate to upload your essay or another academic paper on our website. Our highly experienced editors and proofreaders will polish your essay to the point of perfection and will guarantee you an excellent grade.