The Gerund and The Verbal Noun



The Gerund and The Verbal Noun :



The form of a verb ending in ING (writing, reading, arguing) is sometimes called…

(a) the present participle
(b) the gerund depending on whether it is used
(a) more like an adjective
(b) more like a noun.

1. I am reading.
2. I saw him reading.
3. His reading the passage is clear.

Note :

(i) am reading - Present continuous verb
(ii) reading - present participle (qualifies the object 'him' used as an adjective)
(iii) reading - used as noun (subject of IS)

1. Opening the safe, the manager found it was empty.
(participle - used as adjective)
Opening - is the present participle used as an adjective - qualifies MANAGER


2. On opening the safe, the manager found it was empty.
(noun - object of ON)
Opening - noun - governed by the preposition ON - called verbal noun – gerund


Study the following examples.

1. Seeing, he believed.
(Seeing - participle)
Seeing - Present participle - - used as an adjective - qualifies HE


2. Seeing is believing.
(Seeing - verbal noun)
Seeing - Verbal noun subject of IS


3. Playing cricket, he gained health.
(playing participle)
Playing - Participle - qualifies HE (adjective)


4. I am fond of playing cricket.
(playing – noun)
Playing - Verbal noun - governed by the preposition OF


5. Walking along the road, he met with an accident.
(walking - participle)
Walking – Participle – adjectival - qualifies HE


6. Walking is a fine exercise.
(walking – noun)
Walking - Verbal noun - Subject of IS


7. He has begun working harder.
He has begun to work harder.
working - verbal noun
to work – infinitive


8. Try doing it this way.
Try to do it this way.
doing - verbal noun
to do – infinitive


9. It is annoying, being late.
It - being
being - verbal noun
Being late is annoying.
It is annoying.
It is annoying to be late.
to be – infinitive


10. Our problem is finding money.
finding - verbal noun - complement of IS


11. Our problem is to find money.
to find - infinitive - complement of IS


1. I remembered to post the letter.
2. I remembered posting the letter.


I remembered to post the letter.
letter not posted at the time of remembering…(action to begin)


I remembered posting the letter….(the letter has been posted at the time of remembering action - done)


Verbal noun as the subject of a verb :

1. Drinking so much whisky made him ill.
DRINKING is the subject of MADE.

2. Having a tea party in the garden on a full moon day is a fine experience.
HAVING is the subject of IS.

3. Sitting in the Sun is very pleasant.
SITTING is the subject IS.


Introduced by the impersonal IT

1. It made him ill eating so much meat.
[It (eating) so much meat made him ill.]

2. It has been Fine meeting her.
[It (meeting) her has been fine.]

3. It was annoying not being able to attend her wedding.
[It (not being able to attend her wedding) was annoying.]

4. It is no use waiting for the Government orders.
[It (waiting for Government orders is no use.]


Verbal noun as the object of a verb :

1. I enjoyed, seeing the match on the television.
(seeing : object of "enjoyed")

2. The foolish man kept on making noise.
(making : object of 'kept')

3. Would you mind, carrying this briefcase for me?
[carrying : object of "would mind"]


Verbal noun as the complement of the verb TO BE

1. The problem is getting the help required.
[getting : complement of 'is']

2. My work is collecting the plates and washing them.
[collecting : complement of 'is']
[washing : complement of 'is']

3. The aim is learning good English.
[learning : complement of 'is']


Verbal noun as the object of a preposition

1. I am tired of walking all the way.
Walking - Verbal noun - object of 'of'

2. This is the place for resting.
Resting - Verbal noun - object of 'for'

3. Does anyone object to having some pop music now?
Having - Verbal noun - object of 'to'


With a possessive, the verbal noun is a definite subject (ie) nominal


1. I do not mind your asking me so many questions.

2. Is there any chance of V.P. Singh's coming back to power?

3. Does anyone object to my opening the theatre here?

4. It is his own making.

5. There are students demanding the resignation of Our Principal.

6. He is coming forward questioning the supremacy of the landlord.

Asking, coming, opening, making, demanding and questioning - are Verbal nouns. They have possessive pronouns before them.


Avoid - (verb) : to keep away or keep out of the way - especially on purpose
1. He tried to avoid answering my questions.


Escape - (verb) :
1. to get away from an enclosed space
2. to get away from a situation which prevents freedom of action
3. to find a way out
4. to get free
5. He narrowly escaped being drowned.


Resist - (verb) - to oppose : fight against (something)
1. I can't resist telling him the secret.


Detest - (verb) - to hate very much
1. She detests having to talk to people at parties.


Prevent - (verb) : to stop something happening or stop someone doing something
1. We must try to prevent its happening.


Mind - (verb) - to be careful (of) - pay close attention (to)
1. Do you mind me smoking?
2. Do you mind my smoking?
3. Would you mind passing me the cup?


Consider - (verb) : to think about, especially, in order to make a decision - examine.
1. Mr. Minus wouldn't consider changing his programme.


Suggest - (verb) : to mention as a possibility
1. I suggest leaving now.


Practise - (verb) : to do an action or perform regular or repeatedly to gain skill
1. You need to practise parking the car in a small space.


Risk - (verb) : to put in danger or take the chance of losing
1. By criticising the boss, he risked losing his job.


Verbal noun (gerund) is always used after the verbs.


1. admit
2. avoid
3. can't help
4. consider
5. delay
6. deny
7. detest
8. dislike
9. enjoy
10. escape
11. excuse
12. finish
13. forgive
14. mention
15. pardon
16. practise
17. prevent mind
18. resist
19. risk
20. stop
21. suggest

Gerund is used after…
It is no use….
It is worth…
after all phrasal verbs.
and after all prepositions.

Study the following.

Subject ….verb….the gerund (object)

1. It….is not worth….giving you any help.
2. It….is no use….making you a king.
3. It….is no good….getting a degree.
4. You…. had better shut the door without….making it bang.
5. George….had to enter the house by….climbing through the window.
6. Please….turn out the lights before….leaving.
7. Mr. Kennedy….is thinking of ….selling his house.
8. I….was annoyed at…. being too late.
9. You….must keep on….trying till you succeed.
10. Do….you mind my….sitting next to you?
11. Everyone….dislikes….losing cash.
12. I….detest….going to cocktail parties.

Study the following.

Subject….verb….object….preposition + gerund

1. It….prevented….her…..from concentrating on studies.
2. Janu….prefers….walking….to catching a bus.
3. I….warned….my wife….against borrowing too much.
4. The taximan….charged….me….for keeping him waiting.
5. The teacher…. Punished…..the students…..for coming late.

I enjoy to travel. (Not correct)
I enjoy traveling. (Correct)
I want to travel. (Correct)
I hope to travel. (Correct)
Joy comes only while travelling not before.
So, I enjoy traveling. (Verbal noun) (Correct)

You should check the oil before to start the car. (Not correct)
You should check the oil before starting the car. (Correct)

You must stop to smoke. (Correct)
You must stop smoking. (Correct)

We are happy at his being promoted. (Correct)
We are happy at him being promoted. (Not correct)

I hope you know my leaving early. (Correct)
I hope you know me leaving early. (Not correct)

Study the following sentences.

Note the verbal nouns and how they are used.

1. I like walking in the rain.
2. My hair needs cutting.
3. Do you mind my giving you a suggestion?
4. I am worried about Sam's forgetting to pay.
5. You mentioned having been to Japan last year.
6. I look forward to hearing from you.
7. I am not used to driving in big cities.
8. I shall always remember meeting you for the first time.
9. I don't regret telling her what I thought right.
10. Sorry, we do not allow smoking in the lecture hall.
11. I am a rogue. Lying and cheating are my ways of living.
12. I cannot go on wasting time and doing nothing.
13. Making love requires tact, patience and powerful approach.
14. I thank the Jew for teaching me that work.
15. Singing brings you pleasure.
16. Success is not merely winning applause.
17. Praising all alike is praising none.
18. I am shocked at Ram's being absent.
19. Children love making castles in sand.
20. I left the party without anyone knowing.

Note :

1. The news shook me to the very roots of my being.
being : Noun - [here used as verbal noun] - the state of existing
of my heing - of - preposition - governs being
my - possessive pronoun
being - gerund - verbal noun - object of OF


1. I don't like borrowing money.
2. I don't like his borrowing money.
The meaning is different.
I borrow money.
I do not like this (ie) borrowing.


1. He borrows money.
I do not like it.
borrowing - verbal noun - object of LIKE in both the sentences


1. I remember her saying that she was getting married.
saying - verbal noun - object of REMEMBER
her - possessive pronoun - qualifies SAYING


1. She didn't mind our coming very late.
coming - verbal noun - object of DID (NOT) MIND
our - possessive pronoun qualifies COMING


1. She can't bear her husband's snoring.
snoring - verbal noun - object of "can(not) bear"
her - possessive pronoun


1. What do you think of David's marrying Anne Olyne?
marrying - verbal noun - object of OF
David's - proper noun - possessive case


1. I am tired of playing another game of cards.
playing - noun - verbal noun - object of OF


1. Doris has torn his shirt. It needs mending.
mending - verbal noun - object of NEEDS


1. My hands are very clean. They don't need washing.
washing - verbal noun - object of DO(NOT) NEED


1. My face needs washing.
My face needs to be washed.
to be washed - (passive infinitive)
washing - verbal noun - object of NEEDS


Note : The passive infinitive is sometimes used - not very often.

1. I can be being taken to school the first day of all.

The use of the ordinary gerund with a passive meaning after to want, to require, to need is, however, very common.

1. I want to be taken to the hospital immediately.
2. They require this to be handled gently.
3. My socks need to be mended.

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