Gerunds in English and words ending in -ing

Share it!

Gerunds in English and words ending in -ing


  • Definitions
  • The gerund in English: the verb used as a noun
  • The gerund retains its verbal qualities
  • Verb nouns: nouns that are derived from verbs

The English language does not use many grammatical “endings”, but some of the ones it does use have several different functions. The ending -ing is one of them. Words ending in -ing can be gerunds, verb nouns, or present participles. Distinguishing (= gerund) between these and using them correctly isn’t always easy, until you understand these three simple rules.


  • The gerund is a verb that is used as if it were a noun . Being a verb, it cannot be qualified by an adjective, nor preceded by an article, but, like other forms of the verb, it can be modified by an adverb and take a complement.
  • verbal noun is a noun formed from a verb ; some verb nouns end in -ing. Verbal nouns, like other nouns, can take a determiner and be qualified by adjectives.
  • A participle is an adjective or part of a participle phrase that qualifies a noun or pronoun. The present participle is also used in the progressive aspect of verb tenses.

See the usage differences illustrated by these examples:

  • Seeing is believing./ Ver es creer.
  • Living cheaply in New York is quite possible. / Vivir por poco dinero en Nueva York es bastante posible.
  • The book was easy reading! / ¡El libro fue de fácil lectura!
  • He managed to make a good living. / Se las arregló para ganarse la vida.
  • Smiling, the lady told them they’d won the big prize. / Sonriendo, la señora les dijo que habían ganado el gran premio.
  • I heard them arguing last night./ Los escuché discutir anoche.
  • I’m taking my brother to the station tonight. / Esta noche llevo a mi hermano a la estación
  • The man was phoning his friend, when the lights went out. / El hombre estaba llamando a su amigo cuando se apagaron las luces.

The gerund in English: the verb used as a noun

The gerund in English has the form of the present participle in -ing . It is the most common form of the verb that is used as a noun and can be the subject, the object of a sentence, or follow prepositions.


  • Reading that book was very interesting. / Leer ese libro fue muy interesante.
  • Drinking is essential / Beber es fundamental
  • Drinking too much pop can make you fat. / Beber demasiada gaseosa puede engordar.
  • Taking the bus was rather a good idea. / Tomar el autobús fue una buena idea.
  • Swimming regularly is very good exercise./ Nadar con regularidad es un ejercicio muy bueno.
  • Taking too many aspirins is dangerous. /Tomar demasiadas aspirinas es peligroso.

The gerund retains its verbal qualities

As the examples above show, the gerund is a verb that is used as if it were a noun, but not in the same way as a noun . In other words, it retains its verbal qualities. Since it is not used as a noun, it cannot be qualified with an adjective; on the contrary, it maintains some of the essential characteristics that distinguish a verb, in particular, that it can take a direct object, and / or be qualified by an adverb.

When gerunds are used as verb complements (second verbs after a first verb), they can often be rephrased using an infinitive instead of the gerund.

However, some verbs require a gerund, not an infinitive. The most common are : consider, dislike, deny, enjoy, end, involve, lose, think, suggest (considerar, desagradar, negar, disfrutar, terminar, involucrar, perder, pensar, sugerir)

Verb nouns: nouns that are derived from verbs.

There are a number of ways to create a noun from a verb: among the most common are words that use the root form of the verb and a noun ending such as -ment, -ance, -ion, or -ing . You can see that these -ing forms are really nouns, not verbs, since they can be qualified by adjectives and preceded by a determiner (article, quantifier, etc).

Great! This would be all about words ending in -ing. In addition, here we leave you the closest calls in case you want to obtain your official title .

Share it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *