Gerund Phrase - Explore What It Is, How It Is Formed and How to Use It In a Sentence with Examples

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Have you ever come across the term, ‘gerund’ or ‘gerund phrase’? Can you identify a gerund phrase in the above sentence? Learn all that you need to know about gerund phrases, their meaning, definitions, usage and rules to be followed when forming them in this article. Furthermore, check out the examples given in the article and try out the practice questions to have an in-depth comprehension of the topic.

Table of Contents

What is a Gerund Phrase? – Meaning and Definition

A gerund, as you should have already learnt, is a word formed by the addition of an ‘ing’ to the end of the main/root verb and takes the place of a noun in the sentence in which it is used. Likewise, a gerund phrase can also be seen to perform the role of a noun in a sentence.

A gerund phrase can be said to be a phrase consisting of a gerund, its objects and other modifiers. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a gerund is defined as “a word ending in “-ing” that is made from a verb and used like a noun”, and “a noun in the form of the present participle of a verb (that is, ending in -ing)”, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. So any phrase having a gerund and performing the role of the subject or object in the sentence can be considered as a gerund phrase.

Forming and Using Gerund Phrases in a Sentence – Points to Remember

Forming a gerund phrase is a lot easier than you think. You can make use of a gerund or a gerund phrase in a sentence when you want to speak of an activity but refer to it as a noun. For instance, if you are conveying the fact that you like to play football during your free time, you can say, ‘Playing football is my favourite leisure time activity’ or ‘I like playing football in my leisure time.’

Now, take a look at the factors you have to consider when forming and using gerund phrases in your writing.

  • The very first thing that you have to remember when you form gerund phrases is that gerunds behave like nouns and not verbs; so is the case of gerund phrases as well. Since they take the place of nouns in a sentence, it can be identified by asking the question ‘what’.
  • Gerund phrases can be positioned in the beginning or end of the sentence as they take the place of a subject or object in the sentence.
  • Unlike other types of phrases, there is no necessity for a comma or any other punctuation mark to be specifically used before or after the gerund phrase.
  • A gerund phrase should begin with a gerund, and in most cases, is followed by a preposition and a noun. There are other modifiers and determiners that can be used to form a gerund phrase.
  • As far as the subject-verb agreement is concerned, remember that even if the gerund has a plural noun, the gerund phrase is singular, and so you will need to use the singular form of the verbs.

There are chances that you might have a confusion between gerund phrases and participle phrases. To know how a gerund phrase differs from a participle phrase, check out the article on participle phrases.

Examples of Sentences Containing Gerund Phrases

Now that you have learnt and understood what gerund phrases are, why not look at some examples to see how they are used in sentences, and how they play the role of a subject and an object in sentences.

Examples of Gerund Phrases Used as a Subject

Here are a few sentence examples to show you how gerund phrases can be used as the subject in a sentence.

  • Going on trips is my favourite thing to do.
  • Listening to some old songs can be a very relaxing activity.
  • Baking cookies is my new-found hobby.
  • Trying out new recipes makes Sandhya happy.
  • Writing letters to your loved ones now and then is one of the best ways to keep in touch.

Examples of Gerund Phrases Used as an Object

Given below are a few examples of sentences that use gerund phrases as objects. Check them out.

  • Nothing makes me happier than talking to my best friend.
  • I like watching animated movies.
  • Raimy enjoys writing short poems about her life and experiences.
  • Mazeeka loves spending time with her family and friends.
  • Danny is fond of riding bikes as much as driving cars.

Check Your Understanding of the Usage of Gerund Phrases

Let us find out how far you have understood the use of gerund phrases. Go through the following sentences and identify the gerund phrases. Also analyse if the gerund phrase is used as the subject or the object in the particular sentence.

1. Living on the island has helped me in many ways.

2. All of us were focused on taking good, candid photographs.

3. We like hiking in the mountains.

4. Listening to these podcasts has given a completely different outlook on life.

5. Understanding how to work with these equipment was vital.

6. Finding a place to camp was the first thing we had to do as soon as we reached the campsite.

7. Do you enjoy reading coming-of-age novels?

8. Painting the house was our first priority.

9. Bringing pets to the party was strictly prohibited.

10. My friends were experts in planning trips.

Done? Let’s see if you identified the gerund phrases and their roles accurately. Check out the answers given below.

1. Living on the island has helped me in many ways. – Subject

2. All of us were focused on taking good, candid photographs. – Object

3. We like hiking in the mountains. – Object

4. Listening to these podcasts has given a completely different outlook on life. – Subject

5. Understanding how to work with these equipment was vital. – Subject

6. Finding a place to camp was the first thing we had to do as soon as we reached the campsite. – Subject

7. Do you enjoy reading coming-of-age novels? – Object

8. Painting the house was our first priority. – Subject

9. Bringing pets to the party was strictly prohibited. – Subject

10. My friends were experts in planning trips. – Object

Frequently Asked Questions on Gerund Phrases in English

What is a gerund phrase?

A gerund, as you should have already learnt, is a word formed by the addition of an ‘ing’ to the end of the main/root verb and takes the place of a noun in the sentence in which it is used. Likewise, a gerund phrase can also be seen to perform the role of a noun in a sentence.

What is the definition of a gerund phrase?

A gerund phrase can be said to be a phrase consisting of a gerund, its objects and other modifiers. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a gerund is defined as “a word ending in “-ing” that is made from a verb and used like a noun”, and “a noun in the form of the present participle of a verb (that is, ending in -ing)”, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. So, any phrase having a gerund and performing the role of the subject or object in the sentence can be considered as a gerund phrase.

What are the points to be remembered when forming and using gerund phrases in sentences?

Before you use a gerund phrase, there are some things you have to know and bear in mind.

  • Gerund phrases take the place of nouns in a sentence.
  • They act as the subject or object of a sentence.
  • A gerund phrase should begin with a gerund, and in most cases, is followed by a preposition and a noun. There are other modifiers and determiners that can be used to form a gerund phrase.
  • Even if the gerund has a plural noun, the gerund phrase is singular, and so you will need to use the singular form of the verbs.
  • Gerund phrases can be positioned in the beginning or end of the sentence.

Give some examples of gerund phrases.

Here are a few examples of sentences using gerund phrases as subjects and objects.

  • Raimy spends her time writing short poems about her life and experiences.
  • Mazeeka loves spending time with her family and friends.
  • Baking cookies is my new-found hobby.
  • Trying out new recipes makes Sandhya happy.
  • Writing letters to your loved ones now and then is one of the best ways to keep in touch.

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