What are gerunds? Are they nouns or verbs?

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 
Learn English Gerunds Grammar

Hi Ajarn Ken,

this question drives me crazy about English!!! Can you tell me about gerunds ... what are they? Are they verbs or nouns?

Please help me! Thank you

Anita from India

hi Anita,

Thanks for your question - yes it is a difficult one and sometimes even native English speakers find this confusing!

OK, there are a handful of words in the English language that look like verbs....However, they are not. Even though they are derived or come from from verbs, they operate as nouns.

  • Smoking kills people.
  • Swimming is good for you.
  • I love running on the beach.
  • I prefer eating at home.

It is easy to confuse the highlighted words in these sentences with the present participle, because they have the same form (verb-ing). However, if you look closely at where these words are in the sentence, you will see that they operate as nouns.

In the first two sentences… Smoking kills people. Swimming is good for you. “smoking” and “swimming” operate as the subject of the sentence. They appear before the main verbs “kills” and “is”.

In the second two sentences… I love running on the beach. I prefer eating at home. “running” and “eating” operate as the object of the sentence. They appear after the main verbs “love” and “prefer”.

These types of nouns are called gerunds.

Does that answer your question? I hope so!

Thanks again

Ajarn Ken

LearnEnglish365 Podcasts