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What are gerunds?
June 06, 2017

June 6, 2017

Alice rode her bike in a small parade last weekend — that is, she rode her bike until she realized that she couldn't collect candy and ride her bike at the same time. After a brief internal struggle, she ditched her bike and watched the parade from the sidelines so that she could collect candy.

English Grammar Revolution

In this grammar lesson, we'll cover gerunds.

Happy Learning,

Elizabeth O'Brien

After talking to several other teachers, I do believe my students are now the grammar gods at our school. These freshmen couldn't tell me the difference between a noun and a verb when the semester started, and now they are feeling so accomplished!

- Meredith, Classroom Teacher

Meredith is using our courses and books with her students.


When you find a word that is formed from a verb, acts like a noun, and ends in -ing, what do you have?

Why, you have a gerund, of course!

Here are some examples of words that could be gerunds.

wishing, fishing, watching, loving, laughing

Keep in mind that these words are only gerunds if they're acting like nouns.

Quick Refresher

* Verbs are words that name actions or states of being.

* Nouns are words the name people, places, things, or ideas.

Since gerunds act as nouns, they can perform any of the noun jobs. They can be subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, objects of prepositions, predicate nouns, and more.

Here are two example sentences with sentence diagrams. The gerunds are written in red.

Example 1 Running with scissors is not good.

Running is the subject of the sentence.


We diagram gerunds on a step. The ing part of the gerund goes on the bottom of the step.

* Note that you could also diagram with scissors branching off running.

Example 2 I read a book about hiking.

Hiking is the object of the preposition about.


Do you understand gerunds a little bit better now,? If you'd like to practice diagramming more gerunds, use these exercises.

If you'd just like to learn more about gerunds, click here.

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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