Ok, it isn’t quite as catchy as the Shakespearean “To be or not to be”. When it comes to English grammar, the gerund is one of the more in-depth questions which requires some learning by heart – good luck.
First things, first. What on earth is the gerund anyway? Basically, it is the –ing form of a verb, waiting, asking, being etc. And before you think “but it’s the present continuous”, it does indeed look like it with the verb-ing form. However, there is no ‘to be’ form like in the present continuous, e.g. “I am typing this sentence now”, and the gerund has different uses!
Titbitonians, there are four main uses of the gerund, three can be dealt with in a jiffy, and once you’ve got and can remember the rule, it’s easy-peasy. The 4th though is where the learning comes in.
So here goes:
- “Walking is good for you.” The verb is the subject of the (part of) sentence.
- “After walking, I feel as fit as a fiddle”. Following time words like ‘after’, ‘before’, ‘when’, ‘since’, ‘while’.
- “After a while, I get bored with walking”. After adjectives (bored) + prepositions. Check out this list below of some of the most common:
‘afraid of’, ‘bad at’, ‘bored with’, ‘clever at’, ‘fond of’, ‘good at’, ‘keen on’, ‘interested in’, ‘tired of’, ‘worried about.’
So drum roll for numero fouro “I can’t stand walking on my own”, “I enjoy walking with company” and “I often imagine walking barefoot along a beautiful sandy beach in Australia as the warm seawater tickles my toes.” Sorry for the last melodramatic example, I just got swept away in a tide of emotion. Sorry, I’ll STOP there.
The rule behind that long-winded example was that the gerund always follows some verbs. Here is a list below of the most common:
‘Appreciate’, ‘avoid’, ‘can’t help’, ‘can’t stand’, ‘consider’, ‘deny’, ‘dislike’, ‘enjoy’, ‘feel like’, ‘finish’, ‘give up’, ‘imagine’, ‘keep (on)’, ‘look forward to’, ‘mention’, ‘mind’, ‘miss’, ‘practise’, ‘risk’, ‘suggest’, ‘be/get used to’, ‘be worth.’
Wow, that was a list, eh?! Hope that answers the question “Gerund or not gerund”.
If you’ll excuse me now, I feel like going for a long walk with my son!!
catchy (einprägsam), to learn sth by heart (etw auswendig lernen), first things first (das Wichtigste zuerst), What on earth is….? (Was in aller Welt ..?), basically (im Grunde (genommen)), jiffy (ratzfatz), as fit as a fiddle (fit wie ein Turnschuh), with company (in Gesellschaft), to imagine (sich vorstellen), barefoot (barfuß), to tickle sth/sb (kitzeln), to get swept away (hingerissen werden), tide of emotion (hier: überstromende Emotionen), longwinded (langatmig), to excuse sb (jdn entschuldigen), to feel like (Lust haben).
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