What is a Gerund Phrase? Grammar Terms Explained

Gerund phrase definition: A gerund phrase is a group of words that begins with a gerund and includes any modifiers or objects.

What is a Gerund Phrase?

A gerund phrase is a group of words that will always begin with a gerund.

Aside from the gerund itself, the other words in the phrase will include any modifiers or objects of the gerund.

Gerund Phrase Examples

Since a gerund can act as a subject, it can also take objects. Let’s analyze a few examples.

  • Gerund sentences Running through the house
    • Running is the gerund
    • through the house is a prepositional phrase that modifies running
  • Jumping up and down
    • Jumping is the gerund
    • up and down is a prepositional phrase that modifies jumping
  • Taking turns
    • Taking is the gerund
    • turns is an object of the gerund

The Parts of a Gerund Phrase

Examples of gerunds A gerund phrase consists of a gerund and another word or other words. The other words in a gerund phrase may be modifiers, such as prepositional phrases, objects, etc.

First, a gerund phrase begins with a gerund—of course. A gerund is a type of noun (see more here).

More specifically, a gerund is an action word (verb) that is acting as a noun.

Examples of Gerunds:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • talking
  • walking
  • baking

Gerunds, like those above, can take direct objects to make a gerund phrase.

Examples of gerund phrases with objects:

  • drawing landscape
  • painting a house
  • baking cookies

Gerund phrases can also include modifiers:

  • drawing landscape beautifully
  • painting a house quickly
  • talking on the phone
  • walking down the street
  • baking cookies skillfully

Gerunds vs. Present Participles

10 examples of gerunds Gerund phrases look like present participles. This is because both of them end with “-ing.”

However, a gerund is a noun, and a present participle is the progressive form of a verb.

Examples to clarify:

Word: talking

  • Gerund: Talking on the phone is my favorite pastime.
    • “talking” is the subject doing the action; it is acting as a noun
  • Present participle: We had been talking for hours.
    • “talking” is a part of the verb phrase “had been talking”

Word: dancing

  • Gerund: Dancing is my favorite sport.
    • “dancing” is the subject doing the action; it is acting as a noun
  • Present participle: They were dancing in the moonlight.
    • “dancing” is a part of the verb phrase “were dancing”

Word: swimming

  • Gerund: I love swimming.
    • “swimming” is the object of the verb; it is acting as a noun
  • Present participle: We will be swimming tomorrow afternoon.
    • “swimming” is a part of the verb phrase “will be swimming”

Exercises with Gerund Phrase

example of gerund subject Determine whether each of the following sentences contains a present participle or a gerund phrase.

  1. When will you be arriving tomorrow?
  2. Flying through the night exhausted me.
  3. I want to take diving lessons.
  4. We were remembering our younger years.
  5. My favorite activity in gym is climbing the rope.

See answers below.

Summary: What Are Gerund Phrases?

Define gerund phrase: the definition of gerund phrase is a gerund along with any modifying words.

To sum up, a gerund phrase,

  • is a group of words that begins with a gerund
  • acts as a noun
  • can take modifiers or objects

Answers

  1. present participle
  2. gerund phrase
  3. gerund phrase
  4. present participle
  5. gerund phrase
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