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What is a Gerund?

A gerund is a part of speech. It is a common grammar question from those learning how to speak English. For answers to other common grammar questions, please read a few of our blogs.

A gerund is a verb + ing. The word gerund actually means ‘to carry on’. Think of a gerund as a noun and as an activity.


Examples of gerunds

1. Running is healthy.

2. Smoking is bad for you.

3. Cheating is for losers.

As we can see, running, smoking and cheating are all activities. These 3 activities are the subjects of the sentences above.

What is a gerund phrase?

A gerund is so much like a noun, that it can form subjects, objects, compliments and clauses. When we make a gerund phrase, we combine the verb + ing with other modifying words. Improve your English more and look at a few examples of gerund phrases below?

1. Running in the mornings is a good way to wake up.

2. Eating fruits and vegetables is the best way to stay healthy.

3. Working from daylight till dark will make you old very quickly.

We can see the activities above are Running in the mornings, Eating fruits and vegetables & Working from daylight till dark.


What is the difference between a gerund and the present continuous?

When I teach my online English classes, I get this question a lot. The answer really is simple. Let’s look at the difference between the two.

1. Gerund – Verb – ing + possible modifiers

Running every day is fun.

2. Present Continuous –   Verb to be (helping verb) + verb – ing

We are running right now.

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By: Luke 

ETO American English teacher

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