September 30, 2014

Verbals: Gerunds

  1. A gerund is the form of a verb, but it is NOT a verb.
  2. A gerund is a noun.
  3. A gerund ends in “ing.”

[In the following examples, the gerund is bold and the verb is underlined.]

  • Many local governments and school districts forbid releasing student information to any outside group, including the military, colleges or corporations.

First find the subject and verb: GOVERNMENTS and DISTRICTS are the subjects and FORBID is the verb. Is it an action verb? Yes? Do they forbid something? Yes. What? RELEASING. So, RELEASING is a direct object, which is a noun. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.

  • The burning oil and theĀ smashing atoms are good for the environment.

First find the subject and verb: BURNING and SMASHING are the subjects and ARE is the verb. Therefore, BURNING and SMASHING are nouns. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.

  • Coal mining yields 5,000 watts per square meter per day, and an oil field yields close to 10,000.

First find the subject and verb of the clause: MINING is the subject and YIELDS is the verb. Therefore, MINING is a noun. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.

  • The story is the same for high-tech farming.

STORY is the subject. IS is the verb. FARMING is the object of the preposition FOR. An object is a noun. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.

  • Kids enjoy surfing the Internet, but it doesn’t mean that their minds are engaged.

KIDS is the subject. ENJOY is the verb. SURFING is the direct object of the verb. An object is a noun. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.

  • The study does not show a link between using computers and improving student performance

The subject is STUDY. The verb is DOES SHOW. USING and IMPROVING are objects of the preposition BETWEEN.

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Comments

  1. Incorrect: IN your example above, you write,
    “First find the subject and verb: BURNING and SMASHING are the subjects and ARE is the verb. Therefore, BURNING and SMASHING are nouns. A form of a verb that ends in ING and acts as a noun is a gerund.”

    “Burning” and “smashing” are adjectives modifying “oil” and “atoms.” “Burning” and “smashing” are PARTICIPLES in your example. They describe nouns: “oil” and “atoms.” In your example “oil” and “atoms” are the subjects!!!!!

  2. Going to have to disagree with you on this one.
    If we go with your assertion that “burning” and “smashing” are adjectives, then we accept that the nouns (and therefore subjects of the sentence) are “atoms” and “oil. And if we follow that to its logical conclusion, we then should be able to write the sentence with the simple subjects and have it make sense.
    e..g.[O]il and atoms are good for the environment.
    Doh! That certainly doesn’t work, does it?
    The core meaning of the sentence is that two specific activities are good for the environment: “burning oil” and “smashing atoms.” When we break down those activities to their parts, we have two simple subjects with their modifiers. Make sense?
    P.S. I am giving you a pass on the multiple punctuation this time but only because it’s the holiday season. ;)

  3. Regarding the post above (and comment by Jim), I respectfully disagree with TongueUntied:

    First, as the sentence is–”The burning oil and the smashing atoms are good for the environment.”–I would say that OIL and ATOMS are the compound subjects, with BURNING and SMASHING as present participles modifying OIL and ATOMS. What kind of oil? Burning oil. What kind of atoms? Smashing atoms. (I must say that as it is written, it is somewhat odd–really does not make sense.)

    Now, if you reword the sentence like this, removing the THE’s–”Burning oil and smashing atoms are good for the environment.” (or “The burning of oil and the smashing of atoms are good for the environment.”)–it then makes sense that the subjects are the gerund phrases (“Burning oil” and “smashing atoms” in the 1st rewrite or “The burning of oil” and “the smashing of atoms” in the 2nd rewrite).

    Even here, the sentence is rather odd! Then again, I’m not a chemist, and the burning of oil and the smashing of atoms might actually be good for the environment. :o)

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