A Gerund is formed by adding “ing” to the first form of a verb. It has the force both of a noun and a verb. It is partly a verb and partly a noun. It is a verbal noun.
A Gerund may be used as
1) Subject of a verb
A Gerund can be used as a subject of a verb.
Running is a good exercise.
Playing is useful for health.
2) Object of a Transitive Verb.
A Gerund can be used as a object of a transitive verb.
I love singing.
Children stopped laughing.
We enjoy playing cricket.
3) Subject of a Preposition.
A Gerund can be used as a object of a preposition.
He is fond of playing.
I am tired of reading.
He is in the habit of gambling.
4) Complement of a Verb.
A Gerund can ,also, be used as a complement of a verb.
Ali is playing.
I hate gambling.
He likes singing.
5) As a Compound Noun.
A Gerund can be used as a compound noun.
A running joke.
An interesting story.
6) A noun or a pronoun which comes before a Gerund must be in possessive case.
I hope you will excuse me leaving early. (Incorrect)
I hope you will excuse my leaving early. (Correct)
I do not like John beating his servant. (Incorrect)
I do not like John’s beating his servant. (Correct)
7) A Gerund when it is used like an ordinary noun, must have “the” before it and “of” after it. It is then called Verbal-Noun.
Reading of a novel is harmful. (Incorrect)
The reading of a novel is harmful. (Correct)
Coming of the train is uncertain. (Incorrect)
The coming of the train is uncertain. (Correct)
8) Certain verbs are followed by some particular prepositions. After such verbs infinitives cannot be used. Gerund must be used after them.
He persisted to do it in spite of my advice. (Incorrect)
He persisted in doing it in spite of my advice. (Correct)
(The correct preposition after the verb persisted is “in” so we cannot use the infinitive with “to”. A Gerund has to be used instead.)
He insisted to it. (Incorrect)
He insisted upon doing it. (Correct)
I hope you will be successful to get the appointment. (Incorrect)
I hope you will be successful in getting the appointment. (Correct)
This means that:
i. There are certain verbs after which we can use as objects either a Gerund or an Infinitive.
Being, continue, like, feel, love, intend, learn, propose, remember, try, stop, etc.
He continued talking.
He continued to talk.
ii. There are certain verbs after which only Gerund is used.
Avoid, complete, deny, dislike, enjoy, favor, finish, give up, miss, put off, practice, suggest, insist, admit, appreciate, regret, help, consider, look forward to, accustomed to, etc.
He enjoys playing.
He avoids smoking.
I am looking forward to receiving your reply.
He is used to telling lie.
He is accustomed to smoking.
iii. There are certain verbs after which only infinitives are used.
Agree, admit, choose, decide, determine, expect, hope, offer, promise, refuse, wish, etc.
He agrees to attend the meeting.
He refused to help us.
He hopes to pass the test.
iv. A verb may take an infinitive or a Gerund according to its implication. If the verb indicates a purpose, an infinitive should be used and if the verb indicates a cause, a Gerund should be used.
i. He went to college for seeing the Principal. (Incorrect)
He went to college to see the Principal. (Correct)
ii. He was turned out to copy answer. (Incorrect)
He was turned out for coping answer. (Correct)
Gerund and Participle:
Although both Participle and Gerund are verbs having “ing” at the end, (both are called ing form of verb), yet they are quite different from each other.
A Gerund is a Verb + Noun.
A Participle is a Verb + Adjective.
Running is a good exercise. (Gerund)
I saw him running in the ground. (Participle)
Gerund and Infinitive:
As both the Gerund and the Infinitive are Noun + Verbs, they have the same uses in many sentences, they may be used without any difference in meaning.
Giving is better than receiving. (Gerund)
To give is better than to receive. (Infinitive)