A gerund is a verb form ending in –ing. Gerunds are considered as non-finite verbs. That means they cannot form a clause.
Although gerunds are formed from verbs, they are used as nouns. In other words, by adding –ing to a verb, you can change it into a noun. Examples are given below.
Act (verb) -> acting (noun)
Play (verb) -> playing (noun)
Read (verb) -> reading (noun)
Acting is his profession.
Here the gerund acting acts as the subject of the sentence.
Reading is his favorite pastime.
We have already seen that a gerund can be used as a noun. And hence it can occupy all positions occupied by a noun. A gerund, for example, can be used as the direct object of a verb.
Peter enjoys reading detective novels.
He admitted taking the money.
Here the gerunds reading and taking are the objects of the verbs enjoys and admitted.
Gerunds after prepositions
A gerund can also be used as the object of a preposition. That means whenever a verb follows a preposition, use the –ing form.
She is interested in learning classical music. (NOT She is interested in learn classical music.)
Here the gerund learning acts as the object of the preposition in.
My daughter is quite fond of playing with her dolls.
Gerunds after verbs
Some verbs are also followed by gerunds. Common examples of these verbs are: admit, advise, avoid, consider, deny, delay, discuss, enjoy, finish, keep, recommend, postpone, regret, risk, suggest, tolerate
She denied stealing the money.
He admitted being jealous of his brother.
She suggested consulting a doctor.
I postponed making a decision until the last moment.
I regret leaving school at fourteen.
To form negatives, we put not before the gerund.
I regret not listening to my doctor. (= I didn’t listen to my doctor and now I regret it.)
I don’t regret listening to my doctor. (= I listened to my doctor and I don’t regret it.)