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What are gerund phrases?
June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

English Grammar Revolution Eek! This summer is flying by. I'm making a conscious effort to savor the warmth and colorfulness of the summer and the tininess of my children.

In the last grammar lesson, you learned about gerunds. Today, we're going to add to that knowledge. You're going to learn about gerund phrases. Here we go!

Happy Learning,

Elizabeth O'Brien

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Gerund Phrases

In the last grammar lesson, you learned about gerunds.

I hope you remember that gerunds are words that are formed from verbs but function as nouns. They end in -ing.

1. Running is hard work.

2. My grandma enjoys canning.

Running and canning are gerunds. They're both formed from verbs, and they're acting as nouns. (Running is the subject, and canning is the direct object.)

Gerund Phrases

Are you ready to hear something crazy about gerunds?

Although they act as nouns, they still maintain some of the qualities of verbs.

They can be modified by adverbs, they can have direct objects, they can have predicate nouns and predicate adjectives, and more!

When a gerund has any of these modifiers or complements, we call the gerund and all of the words that go with it a gerund phrase. The whole phrase does the job of a noun.

Running races is hard work.

Running races is the subject of the sentence. It is a gerund phrase. Running is a gerund, and races is the direct object of the gerund.

You can see in the diagram that the whole phrase is filling the subject slot.


My grandma enjoys canning peaches

Canning peaches is the direct object of the sentence. It is a gerund phrase. Canning is a gerund, and peaches is the direct object of the gerund.

You can see in the diagram that the whole phrase is filling the direct object slot of the sentence.


You can learn more about gerund phrases here if you'd like.

Are you a teacher? Feel free to use this as a lesson plan in your classroom!

About Elizabeth

English Grammar Revolution

Elizabeth O'Brien is founder of, a company devoted to helping people learn and love grammar.

Through her website, books, and programs, Elizabeth shows people how to teach and learn grammar the easy way. She's on a mission to inspire and motivate people by making grammar fun and friendly.

If you liked today's issue, you'll love Elizabeth's grammar and sentence diagramming programs, which will help you learn or teach grammar through simple, step-by-step instructions and sentence diagrams.

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