Gerunds: Are They Verbs? Are They Nouns?


The gerunds are considered to be the verbs which have an ending with “ing” but the function of it is like the nouns. It functions in different ways within a sentence like a subject, direct object, indirect object, object of prepositions, and predicate nouns. Although it is seen that the gerunds end with “ing” verbs but each verb that ends with “ing” are not gerunds.

The Concept of Gerund

The concept of gerund says that it is a verb’s noun form that has an ending with “ing”. A verb is mainly considered a word through which the actions or the state of being is presented. On the other hand, the noun is applied for describing things, people, ideas, as well as places. Therefore, it is called that gerund is nothing but a combination of verbs and of nouns.

Some examples of gerunds are dancing, playing, eating but it is also confusing to the students because they look like the continuous form of the verb. Nevertheless, it is seen that gerund acts like a noun, as well as an object or subject in a sentence.

For example −

Rama hates playing.

Here playing acts like an object in the sentence and it proves that gerund can act like an object within the sentence. The concept is that gerund mainly looks like a verb but it has acted in the form of a noun.

An example of this factor is running and the word can be used in a sentence for referring to the act of movement. They are acted like third person singular nouns during the time of using within a sentence.

Types of gerund

Normally, it is seen that gerunds are used in various ways within a sentence such as as mentioned below.


Gerund can perform many ways within a sentence and when it does action within a sentence, it acts like a subject. An example is: Dancing keeps you healthy. Here the word dancing performs the action of keeping.

Direct Objects

The gerunds also receive action within a sentence and in this way; it acts like a direct object.

An example, Sima enjoys playing. The gerund playing is answering the question of what does Sima enjoy?

Indirect Objects

This kind of object mainly indicates the whom, who, or what kind of action is directed toward.

For example, the sentence Pulak made playing his priority presents that playing is the indirect object.

Objects of Prepositions

It is seen that sometimes a gerund follows a preposition and here it acts like an object of the preposition.

For example, I express myself by singing. Here singing is a gerund and it is followed by the preposition by.

Predicate Nouns

These nouns are also called the predicate nominatives and it follows the verb form to be and it also explains the sentence’s subject.

Mithu is sleeping is an example of this and sleeping acts like a predicate noun.

Is Gerund a Noun or Adjective?

The gerund is called a verbal and the ending of this verbal happens with “ing” but the most important factor is that it functions like a noun. Here, the expression verbal refers to that gerund is mainly based on verbs and thus expresses action or a state of being. It is observed that the functioning way of a gerund within a sentence as a noun, acquires some positions.

The verbal acquires the position that a noun has within a sentence and some examples are subject, direct object, subject complement, and object of the preposition. These expressions prove that gerund is nothing but a noun within a sentence. It also consists of the phases including the modifier, object, as well as complements.

For example −

Travelling is most important for health.

Here, the word travelling is a gerund in the sentence and it acts like a subject within the sentence.

Is Gerund a Verb?

A gerund is considered to be one of the kinds of non-finite verbs in different languages that functions like a noun. In the field of English, the gerund consists of the properties of both nouns as well as verbs. It is denoted through the word “ing” for identification. It is seen that the Latin form of the gerunds is a restricted context and it presented the sense of isolation of a verb.

The combination of the gerund is rare and it is with the verbs as well as the nouns. Therefore, it is seen that gerund is called a verbal noun in different languages and its use of it is also seen like this. Hence, it is presented that the ing form of the gerund is applied in the cases of non-finite clauses. An example is playing on computers.


The gerund is called the noun form of a verb and it has an ending with “ing”. This tutorial also proves that the concept becomes a little confusing to the students as it looks like the continuous form of a verb. Although it is seen that gerund looks like a verb but it performs in a way like a noun. Therefore, it is seen that the identification of this verbal is done by looking at the performance of this verbal.


Q1. How does the gerund be identified?

Ans. A gerund can be identified by seeing the ing form of a verb and it performs like the same as the noun. An example is: Playing is fun. This sentence presents that running is a gerund here and it has a function like a noun.

Q2. Can gerunds be adjectives?

Ans. The use of the gerunds as an adjective makes it difficult to differentiate between a present participle and a gerund. For example, swimming pool is a phase and here the word swimming is a gerund and it is used as an adjective.

Updated on: 02-Jan-2023


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