Gerund has exactly the same form as the present participle (V1+ -ING).
It can be used (= the position of noun in a sentence) :
- as subject
- as object of certain verbs
- as object of preposition
- as complement
- in noun compound
1. AS SUBJECT
e.g. – Understanding someone else needs a mature personality.
– Creating a good picture through a computer is really amazing.
2. AS OBJECT of certain verbs
The certain verbs are :
admit, anticipate, appreciate, avoid, be worth, can’t help, can’t stand, consider, delay, deny, dislike, dread, enjoy, escape, excuse, fancy (= imagine), finish, forget, give up, imagine, involve, keep (= continue), look forward to, mind (= object to), miss, pardon, postpone, practice, prevent, propose (= suggest), recollect, remember, risk, stop, suggest, understand
e.g. – Do you enjoy learning English?
– Women always dread getting old.
NOTE FOR CERTAIN VERBS :
APPRECIATE : requires a possessive adjective before gerund:
e.g. – I appreciate your giving me so much of your time.
– Everyone will appreciate his telling them about the broken bridge.
EXCUSE, FORGIVE, PARDON : take either possessive adjective + gerund or object + for + gerund :
e.g. – Forgive my interrupting you!
– Forgive me for interrupting you!
– He excused our coming late yesterday.
– He excused us for coming late yesterday.
PREVENT : takes either possessive adjective + gerund or object + (from) + gerund :
e.g. – The government prevents his leaving this country.
– The government prevents him from leaving this country.
These verbs can be followed directly by gerund or by possessive adjective/object + gerund. If they are directly followed by gerund, the gerund refers to the subject :
approve / disapprove of, dislike, fancy, insist on, involve, like, mean, mind, object to, propose, remember, save, stop, suggest, understand, it is no good / use, there’s no point in, what’s the point of
e.g. – Andi insisted on seeing the document .(= Andi saw it)
but the gerund refers to the person denoted by the possessive adjective or object if we put him before gerund :
e.g. – Andi insisted me on seeing the document (= I saw / had to see the document because he forced me to)
STOP (= PREVENT) : the pronoun is more usual than the possessive adjective :
e.g. – I can’t stop him taking a picture of the victim.
MIND : used chiefly in the interrogative (in request) and negative :
e.g. – Would you mind helping me ? (= I ask for a help)
– Would you mind my helping you ? (= I offer a help)
– I don’t mind staying in this room. (= I stay in this room and I don’t object to)
– I don’t mind his staying in this room (= He stays in this room and I don’t object to)
SUGGEST, PROPOSE : can be followed by :
a. gerund :
e.g. – He suggested taking a computer course ( = someone who is given the suggestion is general )
possessive adjective / object + gerund :
e.g. – She suggested him / his applying the new method ( = he is advised (by her) to apply it. * There is a certain person to be advised )
b. that + subject + should
e.g. – She suggested that he should apply the new method.
3. as OBJECT of preposition
e.g. – Aren’t you interested in working on agriculture research?
– She left after getting what she needed.
4. as COMPLEMENT
e.g. – Their target is building a laboratory for chemistry research. ( = Their target is to build …)
– What I always dream on is having my own library with many kinds of books in it.
The perfect gerund can also be used :
e.g. – She is accused of having copied the data about the research.
– Having read this lesson twice makes me understand it well.
5. in COMPOUND NOUN (= as noun modifier)
e.g. – washing machine = machine which is used for washing
– swimming suit = a suit / garment that is for swimming
– pruning knife = a knife for pruning
INFINITIVE AND GERUND
WITH CERTAIN VERBS :
1.BEGIN, START, CONTINUE, CEASE :
may use to- infinitive or gerund without any difference in meaning:
e.g. – I began working. OR I began to work.
– We continue discussing it. OR We continue to discuss it.
- ATTEMPT, INTEND :
to infinitive is more common for them
e.g. – You should attempt to reach your future yourself.
– He intends to promote some of his employees.
- ADVISE, RECOMMEND, ENCOURAGE, ALLOW, PERMIT :
If the person concerned is mentioned, we use to infinitive :
e.g. – My teacher advised me to be more active.
but gerund is used when there isn’t any person concerned :
e.g. – My teacher advised being more active.
the gerund after allow and permit can’t have an object :
e.g. – The chief allowed leaving early.
– The headmaster doesn’t permit staying in class during the break.
- SUBJECT (THINGS) + NEED / REQUIRE / WANT :
can be followed by either gerund (more usual) or passive infinitive:
e.g. – This tree wants pruning. = This tree wants to be pruned.
– Your house requires repairing. = Your house requires to be repaired.
If we put a person as the subject of those words, to infinitive construction is used.
e.g. – I need to prune this tree in order that I can get the best yield.
– We want to repair this house because there is some cracked wall here and there.
- REGRET, REMEMBER, FORGET :
are used with gerund when the action expressed by the gerund is earlier than the one expressed by those verbs :
e.g. – I regret spending so much money on this useless thing. (= be sorry for what has happened or happened, so “spending …” is the first action )
– They will never forget having a short dialogue with the Pope. (= never forget what they experienced)
but when those verbs express the earlier action, to infinitive form follows them :
e.g. – I regret to inform that you are fired (= be sorry for what I am going to say. (* regret is the first action)
– I remember to tell them about the schedule (= remember what has to do)
- LIKE + gerund = ENJOY
e.g. – I like staring at my flowers. They are beautiful.
– Child likes playing with water and sand. He will be angry if we ask him to stop it.
LIKE + to infinitive = choose to; be in the habit of ; think it right to.
e.g. – I like to get up early so that I can have plenty of time to prepare for the day work.
– I don’t like to disturb you this time. I’ll fix it up by myself.
would like (= want / wish) is always followed by to infinitive.
e.g. – We would like to get the better result.
– Would you like to have a look?
We most often use GERUND after prefer, to talk about general preferences.
e.g. A : Do you like having fun with your friends?
B : Sometimes, but I prefer reading a book.
When we say that we prefer one activity to another, GERUND can be used in both halves of the sentence.
e.g.- I prefer reading books to watching films. (= I like reading better than watching films = I would rather read than watch films)
would prefer + to infinitive
e.g. – I would prefer to spend the holiday here.
– They would prefer to have some days off better than do / doing nothing here.
- AGREE / AGREE TO, BE AFRAID OF, BE ABOUT / ON THE POINT OF, BE SORRY, MEAN, GO ON, PROPOSE, STOP, TRY, USED (TO).
They have different meanings according to whether they are used with gerund or infinitive :
AGREE TO + GERUND and AGREE TO + INFINITIVE
e.g. – He agreed to stay for a moment. (= I or someone else asked him to stay and he said that he would.)
– He agreed to staying for a moment. (= there’s an idea of staying for a moment and he didn’t object to it.)
– He agreed to my staying for a moment. (= I suggested that I could stay for a moment and he didn’t mind it.)
BE AFRAID (= FEAR) OF + GERUND and BE AFRAID TO + INFINITIVE
e.g. – As he is afraid of losing his job, he never criticizes his boss. (There’s no intention to lose the job )
– He is afraid to tell the truth, so he just keeps quiet. (There’s an intention to tell it but he doesn’t have the courage)
BE ABOUT + TO INFINITIVE = BE ON THE POINT OF + GERUND
e.g. – I was about to step my foot / I was on the point of stepping my foot when there was a snake passing through my way.
– The lady was about to leave the room in a hotel / The lady was on the point of leaving the room in a hotel when the police caught her.
(BE) SORRY FOR + GERUND (= apologize for what we have done or did)
e.g. – I am sorry for embarrassing you last night. (= I’m sorry that I embarrassed you last night)
(BE) SORRY TO + INFINITIVE (= apologize for what we are doing or about to do)
e.g. – Sorry to interrupt, I need to talk to you for a minute.
– We are sorry to let you all wait for us for some minutes because we have some more important things to handle.
e.g. – They still don’t understand your explanation. So, it means repeating once again. (= involve)
– Though he has failed twice, he means to try it again. (= intend)
in general it is followed by gerund (= continue what one has been doing):
e.g. – Don’t worry, we will go on finishing it soon!
– They went on observing the disease.
it can be used with to infinitive. (= change or move on to something new, usually with the verbs : tell, talk, explain )
e.g. – He began with the classifying of some plants, then he went on to explain the use of each plant.
Compare these sentences:
- He went on telling about the method of planting cuttings. (= he had told it for some minutes but there’s someone interrupting him )
- He went on to tell about the method of planting cuttings. (= he had told about how to plant in general then he continued the next topic)
e.g. – I propose starting tomorrow. (= suggest)
– I propose to start tomorrow. (= intend)
STOP + GERUND = cease
e.g. – You should stop him leaving without my permission.
STOP + TO INFINITIVE = halt (means in purpose)
e.g.- Some tourists stopped here to ask about the way.
TRY + GERUND = make an experiment; do something to see what will happen.
e.g. – He tried applying the new fertilizer (means: he had spread out the fertilizer and saw what would happen then)
TRY + TO INFINITIVE = make an effort; attempt to do something difficult
e.g. – He tried to apply the new fertilizer (means: he counted the amount of the chemical elements which are needed for his plants)
SUBJECT + USED TO + VERB1 ( * this expresses the past habit )
e.g. – My family used to have a meal together when all of the children were still in the elementary and secondary school.
SUBJECT + BE / BECOME / GET + USED TO (= ACCUSTOMED TO) + GERUND / NOUN.
e.g. – I have been used to hot climate.
– I have been used to living in hot climate.
– The students get used to the school’s regulation.
– They will become used to working efficiently.