Identifying Gerund Phrases in English

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Plural Noun Rules for English

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Performing Different Role
  • 0:43 What Is a Gerund?
  • 1:38 What Are Gerund Phrases?
  • 2:14 Gerund vs Present Participle
  • 2:46 Finding Gerund Phrases
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

In English, there are eight basic parts of speech. Each part is important in reading and writing, but sometimes, one part of speech will take on the role of a different part of speech. This is a lesson about verbs that act as nouns.

Performing Different Role

Who are you? Maybe you're a mom, a chef, or a salesperson. If you're a mom, you may sometimes do the job of a cook, taxi driver, doctor, or teacher. If you're a chef, you may sometimes do the job of a waiter, host, or busser. If you're a salesperson, you may sometimes do the job of a stock person or custodian. Although you claim a specific identity, there are times you perform a different role.

In English, the same thing happens to verbs. Verbs are words that show an action or a state of being. However, sometimes verbs are given a different job. The verb gets a different name depending on what job it 's doing. This is a lesson about gerunds, and the jobs they perform in a sentence.

What Is a Gerund?

When a verb ends in ''-ing'' and acts as a noun in a sentence, it is called a gerund. Remember, a noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns can have a variety of roles in a sentence. A gerund will take one of these positions in a sentence:

  • Subject: or who or what the sentence is about
    • Cooking is fun.
  • Subject complement: follows the linking verb and renames the subject (subject = complement)
    • Mouhamed's favorite game is basketball.
  • Direct object: receives the action of the verb (after the verb ask ''what or whom?'')
    • Harmon likes rowing.
  • Indirect object: receives the direct object (after the direct object ask ''to or for whom or what?'')
    • Marge gave quilting a try.
  • Object of preposition: follows the preposition to complete its meaning
    • Timmy won a medal for wrestling.

Gerund Phrases

If an action verb is transitive, it has a direct object. When you find the verb, you can ask ''what'' or ''whom.'' A gerund phrase consists of a gerund with a direct object.

  • Cooking pasta is a simple task.

The gerund is ''cooking'' and the object is ''pasta.'' Together, the phrase ''cooking pasta'' acts as the subject of the sentence.

Sometimes a gerund phrase also includes a modifier.

  • Lucas enjoys playing board games.

The gerund is ''playing'' and the object is ''games.'' The word ''board'' is modifying ''games,'' so the entire gerund phrase is ''playing board games.'' In this sentence, the gerund phrase is the direct object.

Gerund or Present Participle?

A gerund always ends in ''-ing'', but not all verbs ending in ''-ing'' are gerunds. Present participles also end in ''-ing~.

Here are some present participles:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account