A gerund is a form of a verb used as a noun. Gerunds always end in
-ing. They always act as nouns. Gerunds can function as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, objects of a preposition, predicate nominatives, and appositives. Here are some examples of gerunds:
- Trespassing is prohibited. (The gerund 'trespassing' is the subject.)
- I love driving a fast car. (The gerund 'driving' is the object of the verb 'love'.)
- His crime, stealing a policeman's helmet, was considered serious. (The gerund 'stealing' is an appositive in this sentence.)
Like a participle, a gerund can be part of a phrase. Don't confuse gerunds and present participles, because both end in -ing. A gerund functions only as a noun, while a participle functions only as an adjective.
- Collecting stamps is a hobby of his.
- I hate the idea of getting old.
- The thought of failing never entered his head.
- Our object, collecting a million dollars for the project, cannot be easily fulfilled.