Gerunds as nouns

Gerunds, which are normally verbs, can be used as nouns. Just like any other noun, gerunds can be used as subjects, objects, or objects of prepositions. They are formed by adding –ing to the base form of a verb. Of course, there may be a double letter before the –ing.  See doubling rule here.  (Click < to get back to this page.) Sometimes a gerund is used alone, but at other times it is connected to an object or a prepositional phrase, just like a verb. When this happens, it is called a gerund phrase.

Shopping is one of her favorite activities. (subject noun)
She enjoys shopping more than anything else. (object noun)
She is always thinking about shopping. (object of a preposition)

Getting enough sleep is very important. (subject noun)
His doctor suggests getting enough sleep each night. (object noun).
He’s used to getting enough sleep. (object of a preposition)

Visiting our mother makes us happy. (subject noun)
We don’t mind visiting our mother every month. (object noun).
We feel like visiting our mother more often. (object of a preposition)

Also, like regular nouns, you can make a gerund negative.

Not arriving on time makes the teacher angry at them. (subject noun)
She hated not arriving sooner for her sister’s wedding. (object noun)
They will get into trouble for not arriving on time. (object of a preposition)

Not finishing your research paper will result in a failure for this course. (subject noun)
She couldn’t help not finishing her partner’s sentences. (object noun)
You would be punished for not finishing your chores. (object of a preposition)

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