GERUNDS 1 (understanding the basics)
A gerund is an -ing verb that functions as a noun. For example, consider “swimming” in the following sentence.
This is in one of the standard English formats of Subject + Verb + Adjective
In this sentence “swimming” is a noun. Because it’s based on a verb, though, it still retains some of its qualities of action.
Here are some more sentences that use gerunds as nouns…
- Running makes me fit.
- Smiling hurts my mouth.
- I feel good when I hear laughing.
In the above, running and smiling are used in the subjective position. In the third sentence, laughing is in the objective position. (This third sentence is actually two sentences joined together using the conjunction “when”.) It’s easy to identify that laughing is acting as a noun by replacing it with the noun laughter. The sentences “I hear laughing” and I hear laughter" are nearly the same.
For me, the gerund, laughing, creates an image of people laughing in my mind while the noun, laughter, creates the sound of laughing inside my head. In a number of ways, the strength of a gerund lies in its ability to convey information that relates to the verb. Poets have used this quality of gerunds for many centuries.
NOTE: In the above video, Hey Teacher! also mentions gerunds after a preposition. This is something that I’ll be talking about in another post called GERUNDS 2.