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Grammar and StructureGRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples


Examples of different ways gerunds can be used:



Skiing is fun.


Gerund as subject of the verb

I like skiing.


Gerund as object of the verb

My parents teach me all about skiing.


Gerund as object of the preposition

Tom has to finish eating dinner before he can watch TV.

NOT: Tom has to finish to eat dinner before he can watch TV.

There are many verbs that use gerunds as the object of the verb. "Finish" must be followed by a gerund. An infinitive cannot follow "finish".

(Most dictionaries will show if a verb is followed by a gerund or an infinitive.)

I want to go swimming.

Use a gerund after "go" to express an activity (usually a sport or recreational type of activity).

Every summer, I spend all my days playing with my friends and going to the beach.

Harold wasted his whole weekend watching TV.

Use a gerund to tell how time is used.


Tami had fun swimming yesterday.

Mary had difficulty answering the exam questions.

Use a gerund after:

have + fun / trouble / difficulty / a hard time / a good time / a difficult time.

Tom sat at the table eating his dinner.

Mary stood at the corner waiting for the bus.

Barbara was lying down resting before dinner.

Use a gerund after: Sit / stand / lie + expression of place.

Bill heard Tom singing. (Bill heard Tom sing.)

Mary saw Bill walking home.

Tom smelled the toast burning.


Use a gerund (or the simple form) after a verb of perception, for example: see, hear, feel, smell, notice, watch, listen to.

Michelle enjoys not working on Fridays.

Not studying properly is a common problem for new students.

To indicate a negative, place the word "not" before the gerund.

Present: I admit stealing the money.

The gerund can be used in the past: having + past participle form of verb.

The past gerund action occurred before the main verb action:

Past: I admit having stolen the money.

First: I stole the money.
Second: Now, I admit the theft.

Past: I already admitted having stolen the money.

First: I stole the money.
Second: Then, I admitted the theft.

The gerund can be used in the passive.

Present passive: I appreciate being invited to the party.

Present passive: being + past participle form of verb

A possessive noun or pronoun can modify a gerund.

Tom was angry about Bill's losing $1,000 at the horse race.

This sentence means: Bill lost $1,000 at the horse race. Tom was angry about that.

I appreciate your inviting me to the party.

This sentence means: You invited me to the party. I appreciate that.