Gerunds in English: Guide & Examples

Gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns. One way to spot a gerund is to notice that they always end in -ing

For example

  • I was running with my friends
  • I love playing soccer
  • Let’s go dancing at the club tonight.
  • Swimming in the ocean is dangerous
  • Going to college is expensive
  • Dreaming is my hobby during long winter holidays

Types of Gerunds

We use gerunds as:

  • subjects: Hiking is good for health.
  • objects: He enjoys hiking.
  • subject complements: My favorite activity is playing soccer
  • objects of prepositions: I asked him about playing soccer

Check this chart to see how the four types of gerunds work

SubjectTraveling is awesomeThe program is awesome
ObjectHe enjoys playingHe enjoys games
subject complements My favorite activity is hiking My favorite activity is chess
objects of prepositions I arrested him for speeding. I arrested him for criminal acts

The Gerund as the Subject of a Sentence

Gerunds can be the subject of a sentence in English

Gerund as a subject
Running is very important

Examples of gerunds as subjects of a sentence

  1. Gambling is a very dangerous occupation.
  2. Flying makes me nervous.
  3. Gardening is my favorite hobby.
  4. Running  is good exercise.
  5. Singing makes Sarah happy
  6. Reading is relaxing for me

These are some examples in which gerunds phrases are the subject of the sentences

  1. Playing soccer is good for your health
  2. Creating applications is one of my passions
  3. Calling customers is one of the things I don’t like to do
  4. Doing exercises is one of the thing I do every day

The Gerund as Direct Object in a sentence

A gerund can also function as the direct object in a sentence.

Let’s look at it in the following sentence:

  • Sarah enjoys singing.
  • My neighbors admire my gardening
  • They do not appreciate my singing
  • I love reading
  • Patrick loves photographing

These are some examples in which a gerund phrase acts as the object of the sentences

  • I enjoy cooking with my friends
  • I love testing new software

Gerunds as the Object of Preposition

These are some examples of gerunds used as the object of the preposition

  • Thank you for choosing my lesson.
  • I’m thinking about living in Norway
  • I’m interested in collecting stamps.
  • I will call you after arriving at the office.
  • The police arrested him for speeding

The Gerund as a Subject Complement

These are some examples of gerunds used as subject complement

  1. One of life’s pleasures is having breakfast in bed.
  2. My favorite pastime is reading books
  3. Something that I hate is working long hours
  4. All I have been doing is watching TV
  5. One of the things I do is exercising
  6. Peter’s ideal move is walking away from his friends
  7. My favorite thing to do is cooking.
  8. My cat’s favorite activity is sleeping.

The Gerund After Prepositions

You have to use gerunds after prepositions

  • Can you sneeze without opening your mouth?
  • She is good at painting.
  • Leslie got into trouble for talking to Sarah.
  • Brush you teeth before going to bed.
  • Call my mom after doing the laundry
  • Besides singing, Sarah likes dancing.

The Gerund After Phrasal Verbs

We use gerunds after after we use phrasal verbs,

  • When will you give up smoking?
  • She always puts off going to the dentist.
  • Tom looked into finding a new apartment.
  • She took a long time to get over losing her mom
  • I am going to quit drinking

The Gerund in Compound Nouns

We use gerunds with compound nouns

  • I am giving Sally a driving lesson.
  • They have a swimming pool in their back yard.
  • I am taking singing lessons
  • I bought some new running shoes.
  • She has a dancing lesson.

The Gerund After Some Expressions

We use gerunds after we use certain verbs such as help, stand, stop, enjoy and love

  • She couldn’t help falling in love with him.
  • can’t stand being stuck in traffic jams.
  • When I came in they stopped talking.
  • I enjoy Cooking with my mom
  • I love playing soccer

Gerunds vs. Present Participles

A gerund is not the same thing as a present participle even though both terms end in “-ing.”

Sarah is singing

  • In this example, “is singing” is the verb phrase. “Singing” is the present progressive verb, telling what the subject “Sarah” is doing.

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English