Wednesday, March 25, 2009

English Grammar Point: Gerunds as Subject, Object or Complement

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Gerunds are verbal nouns.

Like nouns, gerunds can be the subject, object or complement of a sentence:

  • Smoking costs a lot of money.
  • I don't like exercising.
  • My favorite job is eating.

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But, like a verb, a gerund can also have an object itself. In this case, the whole expression [gerund + object] can be the subject, object or complement of the sentence.

  • Smoking cigarettes costs a lot of money.
  • I don't like exercising my body.
  • My favorite job is reading romance stories.

Like nouns, we can use gerunds with adjectives (including articles and other determiners):

  • pointless questioning
  • a settling of debts
  • the making of ET
  • her drinking of alcohol

But when we use a gerund with an article, it does not usually take a direct object:

  • a settling of debts (not a settling debts)
  • Making "ET" was expensive.
  • The making of "ET" was expensive.

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