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What is a Gerund Is a Gerund a noun or not?

gerund meaning

Every language has its quirks and idiosyncrasies, English is something more fascinating in this case. Even native speakers of English scratch their heads when it comes to gerunds and infinitives. 

A verb is transformed into a gerund by the prefix “-ing” in the verbal noun form. Gerund is like a chameleon that takes different forms to deceive us, like gerund can be the subject of a sentence, the object of a sentence, or the complement of the “to be” verb.

It serves as a noun in a sentence. It sneaks into a sentence unnoticed, kind of like a ninja verb disguised as a noun. It is the life of the party since it is constantly moving, leaping, sprinting, and even flying. It can quickly change into new forms and engage in all manner of grammatical gymnastics, going from a straightforward gerund to a grandiose participle. If you maintain your cool during the barrage of linguistic deception, you might just make it through.

What is a gerund? In simple words, gerund meaning is, when we use a verb in place of a noun, it is called a gerund. How do I use gerunds?

In English grammar, a subject can either be a noun or a pronoun, it can never have any other form. This is the rule for forming a sentence, but here comes the gerund, which breaks the above rule.

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Gerund as the subject:

“The bear climbed the tree”, here “bear” is a noun, and it is the subject because the bear is performing the action of climbing.

“She danced gracefully across the stage.” Here “she” is a pronoun, and “she” is the subject of the sentence as it refers to a specific person performing the action of dancing on stage. 

Now look at this example, “Dancing is good for health.” Here, which is the subject?

The word “dancing” is the subject, but it is a verb, not a noun or pronoun. How is it possible? As we have earlier mentioned, a subject can either be a noun or a pronoun, it can never have any other form.

This is because the word “dancing” is no longer a verb, it behaves as a noun now. So here, the word “dancing” is a gerund.

When you use a gerund, it’s like giving a lead role in a Bollywood movie. For example, “Eating burgers is my favourite hobby”, Here “Eating” is a gerund, which is used front and center to show that eating burgers is the main activity that I enjoy.

Let’s look at some funny gerund examples where it is used as a subject, 

  • Baking cookies is my therapy, but eating them is my downfall.
  • Singing off-key is my superpower, but only in the shower.
  • Procrastinating is my specialty, but I always get it done in the end.
  • Complaining about the weather is my favourite hobby, but it never changes anything.

Another thing is, if you use the “infinitive” as the subject of a sentence, like “To study science is fun” or “To eat pasta is to eat the soul of Italy”, it sounds very philosophical or abstract. Instead, prefer using gerunds in your conversation as the subject of the sentence, like “Studying science is fun” or “Eating pasta makes me happy”.

Also Read : How to Study Smarter, not Harder

Gerund as the object:

The gerunds could act as the object of the sentence in a supporting role. They resemble the Robin to Batman’s verb in the same manner. For example, in the sentence “I love watching films”, “watching” is the gerund for the verb “love”. Even if it isn’t the primary action, it is still important and gives the statement additional impact. Gerund examples are,

Sam enjoys cooking a lot, here cooking is the gerund acting as the object in the sentence.

That is a good painting, here painting is the gerund used as the object in the sentence.

Gerunds are capable of making themselves the centre of attention by hanging out in the middle of sentences like the cool kids they are. For example, “Veena enjoys running, singing and dancing”, in this sentence three gerunds having a blast in the middle of the sentence by showing off their active side.

Let’s now discuss gerunds as prepositional objects. When gerund is used as the object of a preposition, which means it comes after the preposition and tells us more about the verb or noun it relates to. 

Prepositions include words like “in,” “on,” “at,” and “with,”. Prepositions are used to explain the location or position of something. Some examples are, “I’m in the kitchen,” “The book is on the table,” and “I’m at the park.” But what if a gerund serves as the prepositional object? 

For example, you are at a party and someone asks you what you are doing there. You can just say, “I’m here for the dancing,”, here the gerund “Dancing” is used as the object of preposition.

“I am good at cooking”, here the gerund “cooking” is the object of the preposition “at.”

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Other uses of gerund:

Certain verbs can be followed by gerunds. Such as, 

  • Enjoy
  • Admit 
  • Avoid 
  • Consider 
  • Deny 
  • Finish 
  • keep 
  • Miss
  • Practise
  • Quit 
  • Risk 
  • Suggest 

For example, “He quit smoking two years ago.”

Gerunds can be used after certain expressions, including 

  • Be afraid of
  • Be good at
  • Be interested in
  • Be tired of 
  • Look forward to
  • Put off.

A good gerund example would be, “I’m tired of studying all day.”

Compound nouns can use gerunds. Such as “swimming pool,” “shopping mall,” “cooking class,” “Dancing shoes,” “Reading room,” “Sleeping bags,” and “Singing contest.”

In the above examples, the gerund in the form of a verb is used as the first part of the compound noun, which explains the purpose or activity of the second part of the noun.

Gerunds can be used in idioms and phrases, such as

  • It’s no use 
  • It’s worth 
  • Can’t help

Gerund examples are,

  • It’s no use crying over spilled milk
  • He’s always beating around the bush

Also Read: The Top 10 Hardest Words to Pronounce in English

Conclusion:

The gerund meaning is similar to the chai or tea of the English language. To answer the question, “Is gerund a noun or verb?” it can be used as both depending on context and it’s like a fancy noun that’s also a verb. So, keep in mind that gerunds, like chai, may be a little tricky but they’re always worth the effort, whether you’re sipping on a hot cup of chai or understanding a difficult sentence.

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