Understanding the gerund phrase and how to use it

It is a phrase made of a gerund and other words that act as a noun. The other words that accompany the gerund include objects or modifiers. The entire phrase acts as a noun, functioning as an object, subject, or subject complement in the sentence.

Milena Lazova
Milena Lazova

Hearing about the gerund phrase may sound like talking about complex English grammar when in reality, it’s just another part of speech we use every day. And, it’s really not difficult to understand.

Understanding it better can set you apart from other ESL learners and help you become an advanced English speaker. That’s why it’s important to learn how to use it.

What is a gerund phrase?

It is a phrase made of a gerund and other words that act as a noun. The other words that accompany the gerund include objects or modifiers. The entire phrase acts as a noun, functioning as an object, subject, or subject complement in the sentence.

Example:

Walking barefoot is good for your body and mind.

In this sentence, “walking barefoot” is the gerund phrase acting as a subject in the sentence, consisting of the gerund “walking” and the modifier “barefoot.” Sounds complicated?

That’s because in order to define gerund phrases, you first have to understand what gerund is.

What is a gerund?

A gerund is a word consisting of a verb ending in –ing but acting as a noun. It can stand alone or together with other words and create a gerund phrase. Both the gerund and the gerund phrase act as nouns, which sets them apart from participle phrases. That’s according to the definition, but examples are better to understand it more easily.

Example:

Never stop believing.
Cooking is my hobby.

The gerunds here are “believing” and “cooking,” acting as an object and subject, respectively. As you can see, they are not verbs but nouns formed by adding an –ing to the verb roots “believe” and “cook.” The verbs in these sentences are “stop” and “is.”

Some more gerund examples:

Her (2013)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Before Sunset (2004)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Help (2011)
EnglishWhich is correct

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.


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Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.