Writing Solutions | What We Should Know about Gerunds
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What We Should Know about Gerunds

What We Should Know about Gerunds

Before we start trying to remember what our grammar teacher taught us many years ago, let’s see if we know what is wrong with these sentences:
I am considering to go to the beach this weekend.

You probably know that it should be “I am considering goING to the beach”.
But, what has this got to do with gerunds and what do we need to know about them?

A gerund is best described as a ‘verbal noun’. The easiest way to think of a noun is as a thing, and to be simple, a verb is an action. Often however, a verb is used to act as a noun in a sentence where the real verb is somewhere else:
Eg: Swimming everyday helped her to recover from her injury.
Here, the real verb is “helped” and “swimming”, from the verb “to swim” is the gerund.

Gerunds always end in “ing”. They shouldn’t be confused with what is known as the present participle, which looks the same but has to be used with the verb “to be” in sentences such as “I am swimming a lot now that I have a pool close to the house”.

If any of that sounds a little confusing, there is no need to worry. There are really only 2 things we need to know about gerunds:

1. They follow certain other verbs
– A gerund must always be used after: recommend, suggest, risk, avoid, deny, admit, involve, practice, give up, delay, consider and many other verbs.

This is why we have to say “I am considering going to the beach” (rather than “I am considering to go”).

– It is very hard to know which verbs need to be followed by a gerund, if your ear doesn’t tell you. There are however, 2 groups of verbs that can always be followed by a gerund, and which aren’t too difficult to remember:
Verbs of starting and stopping (start, begin, commence, finish, stop and carry on, continue etc.)
Verbs of liking and disliking (like, love, hate, dislike, adore, can’t stand, don’t mind etc.)

Eg: He finished working well after midnight.
We don’t mind travelling by bus as long as there is space to sit down.

2. If a verb follows a preposition, we need the verb to be a gerund For some reason, we are often not told that when a verb follows ANY preposition in English (in, on, at, over, by, after, through, with etc) this MUST be a gerund.

Eg: After working very hard all week, she had a good rest at the weekend.
It is quite easy to improve our vocabulary by reading a lot.
He managed to lose weight through dieting and heavy exercising.

After reading all that information, you will never again embarrass yourself by forgetting a gerund!