Gerunds

verb + -ing

A gerund is the -ing form of a verb that functions as a noun.  We use gerunds to expresses action or state of being.  Gerunds can be used as a subject, object of the verb, object of the preposition, or subject complement.

Gerunds as a subject:

  • Speaking English can help graduates get high paying jobs.
  • Helping others is a value shared by most cultures.

Gerunds as a object of the verb:

  • Students enjoy exercising at the new gym facilities.
  • They suggested raising money as a way to help the needy in the area.

Gerunds as object of the preposition:

  • They talked about giving their time to help the new project.

Gerunds as subject complement:

  • The greatest challenge for college graduates is finding a job in their field of study.
  • The hardest part of the class was writing on the topic of world hunger.

Infinitives

to + verb

An infinitive is the word to plus the base form of a verb.  Infinitives can be a noun, adjective, or an adverb.  In sentences infinitives can function as a subject, direct object, subject complement, adjective or adverb.

Infinitives as a subject:

  • To pass the test was their first consideration.
  • To rise money for the orphans was not easy, but in the end many people were helped.

Infinitives as a object of the verb:

  • The children expect to go to the park every Saturday.
  • The students were assigned to write about the holiday.

Some common words use: ask, get, persuade, expect, remind, want, teach, invite

Infinitives as a subject complement:

  • The company’s goal is to provide enough warm blankets for all the children.
  • The greatest challenge for international students is to find a good place to live for the year.

Using Parallel form

When writing a list using gerunds or infinitives, you must use what we call Parallel Form, that is if the first item is a gerund, the other items must also be gerunds.  Or if the first item is an infinitive, then the other items must be infinitives.

  • The assignment requires the students to planwrite, and revising their essays in thirty minutes. (Note: When using infinitives, the to does not need to be repeated).
  • The assignment requires the students to plan, write, and revise their essays in thirty minutes.

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