The Gerunds - Gerund And Present Participles | English Grammar - English Free Test|

The Gerunds - Gerund And Present Participles | English Grammar - English Free Test

This looks exactly the same as a present participle, and for this reason it is now common to call both forms 'the -ing form' . However it is useful to understand the difference between the two. The gerund always has the same function as a noun (although it looks like a verb), so it can be used:

as the subject of the sentence:

  • Eating people is skipped.
  • Hunting tigers is dangerous.
  • Flying makes me nervous.

as the complement of the verb 'to be'

  • One of his duties is attending meetings.
  • The hardest thing about learning English is understanding the gerund.
  • One of life's pleasures is having breakfast in bed.

after prepositions. The gerund must be used when a verb comes after a preposition:

  • Can you sneeze without opening your mouth?
  • She is good at painting .
  • They're keen on windsurfing .
  • She avoided him by walking on the opposite side of the road.
  • We arrived in Madrid after driving all night.
  • My father decided against postponing his trip to Hungary.

This is also true of certain expressions ending in a preposition, e.g. in spite of, there's no point in..:

  • There's no point in waiting .
  • In spite of missing the train, we arrived on time.

after a number of 'phrasal verbs' which are composed of a verb + preposition/adverb

  • to look forward to, to give up, to be for/against, to take to, to put off, to keep on:
  • I look forward to hearing from you soon. ( at the end of a letter)
  • When are you going to give up smoking ?
  • She always puts off goi ng to the dentist.
  • He kept on asking for money.


There are some phrasal verbs and other expressions that include the word 'to' as a preposition, not as part of a to-infinitive : - to look forward to, to take to, to be accustomed to, to be used to. It is important to recognise that 'to' is a preposition in these cases, as it must be followed by a gerund:

  • We are looking forward to seeing you.
  • I am used to waiting for buses.
  • She didn't really take to studying English.

It is possible to check whether 'to? is a preposition or part of a to-infinitive : if you can put a noun or the pronoun 'it' after it, then it is a preposition and must be followed by a gerund:

  • I am accustomed to it (the cold).
  • I am accustomed to being cold.

in compound nouns

  • a driving lesson, a swimming pool, bird- watching , train- spotting

It is clear that the meaning is that of a noun, not of a continuous verb.

  • the pool is not swimming, it is a pool for swimming in .

after the expressions:

can't help, can't stand, it's no use/good, and the adjective worth:

  • She couldn't help falling in love with him.
  • I can't stand being stuck in traffic jams.
  • It's no use/good trying to escape.
  • It might be worth phoning the station to check the time of the train.