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Grammar and Usage

What is a Gerund?

A gerund is  a type of verbal that has the form of a verb but acts as a noun. In fact, because a gerund looks identical to the present participle some grammarian refer to it as the gerund-participle. This is because both the gerund and the present participle end in -ing and are formed from verbs. 

Let’s clarify: Some grammar sites will tell you that a participle can function as a noun and this is technically true, but you could say that a present participle that functions a noun is a gerund.

What is a Gerund?

But how can a word derived from a verb and called a verbal act as a noun? There’s a simple explanation. The gerund expresses the abstract concept of the verb.

A gerund is a verbal. This means that it expresses and abstract concept, a thing. For example, walking is a thing. You do this thing or you act on this thing.

Thinking is a thing you do

So is loving, eating, swimming, and running.

Let’s delve deeper into what a gerund actually represents. So we know that a gerund is formed from a verb. A verb is defined as either an action or a state of being. A gerund, in effect, represents the concept of the action, not the actual performance. We can use gerunds to talk about these actions or states of being in an abstract way.

So a way to think about gerunds is to view them as a representation of a concept or a thing that you do or are.

For example, let’s think about singing. Singing is something you do. It’s an action when you’re actively doing it. I am singing. In this example, singing is a verb. However, when you think about that action, that thing called singing, you’re actually thinking of an abstract concept, and this representation of that abstract concept is what we call a gerund when the verb form takes on the -ing.

Singing in the shower reduces stress levels. In this example, the concept, the thing of singing in the shower is what is being discussed. In this example singing in the shower is a gerund phrase.

Tips to Identify a Gerund

Two tips to identify the gerund:

Let’s look at the gerund. Let’s begin by sharing a tip that you can use to identify any noun or noun form. If you can replace a word, phrase, or clause with a pronoun, usually, “It” or the demonstrative pronouns “this” or “that”, then you have a noun.

What differentiates the usage of a present participle as a noun (gerund) or as an adjective (participial) is it’s function or place in the sentence and the punctuation around it.

Where can you find a gerund in the sentence?

A gerund can function as  a subject, a subject complement, a direct object, an indirect object, or an object of a preposition. Of you can find the gerund as a phrase as part of any of these forms.

Let’s try it



Bowling is not an Olympic sport.

Meditating helps me relax.

Reading is fundamental.

Quitting your job is not an option right now.

Memorizing the lines requires focus and concentration.

Skiing on compacted snow can be dangerous.


Ralph’s passion is teaching international students.

The baby’s new habit is throwing her food on the floor.

Rick’s new hobby is flying a small plane.


Ralph enjoys teaching English to international students. (answers what of the verb)

Kaylee remembers leaving a message.


Jose gave learning the piano another chance.

Shannon made serving the poor her lifelong career.


Antoine was sent to the principal’s office for cheating.

Father grounded me for driving the car without his permission.



Just because a word ends in -ing does not mean it’s a gerund. Remember that a gerund is a verbal that looks like a verb because it is derived from a verb. However, because of its place in the sentence, it acts like a noun.

ING words like 

  • King
  • Ring
  • Thing
  • Something
  • Everything

are not gerunds although they end in ing.


And then we have the present participle which looks just like a gerund because unless you identify the function in the sentence, you will not know for sure just by looking at it.

Grammar and Usage

Types of Phrases | 7 Types | English Grammar | Syntax


A group of words that may take the place of a part of speech is called a phrase. A phrase is a group of connected words, not containing a subject and a predicate. In other words, a phrase does not have a subject and verb. (If a group of words had a subject and a verb, it would be a clause.) Phrases can function in the sentence like nouns, adverbs, or adjectives.

7 Types of Phrases


Seven common types of phrases are: noun, gerund, infinitive, appositive, participial, prepositional, and absolute.


A phrase used as a noun is called a noun-phrase. A noun is a person place or thing, and when you add a modifier, you have a noun phrase.


A noun phrase can be part of the subject, the object, or a prepositional object.


TIP* A noun phrase can be replaced by a pronoun.


The Father of Waters is the Mississippi River.


SUBJECT: The Father of Waters is used as a noun, since it names something and can be replaced with the pronoun “it”.


It is the Mississippi River. (In this example the noun phrase is the subject of the sentence.)


My neighbor down the street baked me a pie. (SUBJECT)


OBJECT: Jazmin baked a chocolate cake. (A chocolate cake is the object of the verb baked and is a noun phrase.)


Marco replaced the worn-out furniture. (OBJECT of the verb replaced)


Prepositional phrase: The purse on the table belongs to my aunt. (SUBJECT w/ a preposition and includes the prepositional phrase on the table.)


Mikey kissed the girl with blue eyes. OBJECT w/ a preposition




A verb-phrase is a group of words that is used as a verb. A verb phrase contains both the verb and either a direct or indirect object (the verb’s dependents).


Verb phrases may include the verb, plus the complement, object, or adverb.


Verb phrases, such as “He is running toward the bus.” comprise the verb running and the complement toward the bus.


He is running quickly toward the bus. (Interrupted by an adverb)


He is running quickly toward the bus that is heading southbound.


VERBALS: The main types of verbals are participial, gerund, and infinitive phrases.



A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun. A gerund is easy to spot because it is a verb ending in -ing. Gerunds can be subjects, objects, or subject complements in sentences. Remember that to test any noun or part of speech functioning as a noun, we should be able to replace it with a pronoun.


Skiing is my favorite sport. (It is my favorite sport.)



An infinitive is the most common form of the verb. Infinitives can be used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. An infinitive will almost always begin with “to” also known as the sign of the infinitive.


To love unconditionally is a selfless thing.

You need to study for your finals if you want to get good grades.



A participial is a phrase that looks like a verb, but actually functions as an adjective; it modifies a noun in the same sentence.


Wagging her tail, my puppy greets me at the door. (adjective)


Sitting in the junk drawer, my glasses were pushed to the back.


Be careful not to confuse the participial phrase for the gerund phrase.


Wagging her tail is my puppy’s way of showing affection. (Gerund phrase –substitute it with IT)



An appositive is a noun or noun phrase (appositive phrase) that gives another name to the noun right next to it. An appositive phrase usually follows the word it explains or identifies


My puppy, a Maltese and Havanese mix, is gentle and smart.



A prepositional phrase is a modifying phrase consisting of a preposition and its object. It can act as an adjective or as an adverb.


Josie is inside the store. (verb complement)

Josie is the girl with the blue eyes. (adjective)

I will give you a call in the morning. (adverb).


An absolute phrase is a phrase that modifies the independent clause, but it is not connected to the sentence by a conjunction. It is set off with a comma only, and it could be removed from the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence.


His feet sore, he continued his hike.


The baby ate the applesauce with pleasure, cooing and gurgling as she took each spoonful.




A phrase is a group of connected words THAT DO NOT CONTAIN A subject and a predicate. In other words, a phrase does not have a subject and verb. Phrases can function in the sentence like nouns, adverbs, or adjectives.


Seven common types of phrases are: noun, gerund, infinitive, appositive, participial, prepositional, and absolute.


File name : 7-Types-of-Phrases.pdf