What are Verbal Nouns

What are Verbal Nouns

A verbal noun is a noun derived from a verb. Although it is derived from a verb, it has all the properties of a noun and none of the properties of verbs. This is the main feature of a verbal noun. In this article, we are going to discuss what are verbal nouns, how they are formed and used.

Verbal nouns, as mentioned above, or a verbal noun is made of a verb. They can be formed in a number of ways, but the most common way is adding a suffix to the base form of the verb.

Examples of Verbal Nouns


Verbal Noun




Second reading of the book gave us some new information.



He condoned the killing of innocent women.



His arrival was delayed by 3 hours.



Her departure saddened us all.



We are anxiously waiting for your return.



I don’t approve the repetition of yesterday’s faults.



He was arrested for the destruction of property.



Her decision affects all of us.



Her narration of the story saddened us all.

In some verbs, the verbal noun is identical to the base form of the verb. Examples include Attack and Return.

A verbal noun has many qualities of nouns.

His sudden arrival surprised all of us.

It was a lovely building.

  • It can be preceded by determiners

He attended a private showing.

The acceptance of the prize meant a lot to him.

  • It can take a plural form

Many religious books can have multiple readings.

It was another one of her bad decisions.

  • It can be followed by a prepositional phrase

His beautiful drawing of the countryside won the first prize.

Your money will fund the building of a bridge.


The second reading of the bill was scheduled for January 19th, 2016.

The – Determiner

Second- Adjective

Reading – Verbal Noun

of the bill – Prepositional phrase

As demonstrated by these examples, verbal nouns have qualities of a noun and functions as a noun in a sentence. However, some verbal nouns, especially those that end with –ing, can be easily confused with present participles and gerunds.

Flouting conventions may not be a crime, but it is morally questionable.

Flouting of the rules cannot go unpunished.

He was flouting the rules.

The construction of the building was delayed.

The construction of the building was delayed.

Verbal Noun vs Gerunds

A verbal noun can be formed by adding the suffix –ing. However, a verbal noun should not be confused with a gerund. Although a gerund looks exactly like a verbal noun, it retains many properties of a verb.

A gerund can take objects and can be modified by adjectives.

He loves watching TV.

Smoking cigarettes in not good for your health.

In both these cases, you can observe how gerunds take objects. TV is the object of watching whereas cigarettes is the object of smoking.

Verbal Noun – Summary

  • A verbal noun is derived from a verb.
  • A verbal noun has qualities of a noun; it can be modified by adjectives and determiners and can be followed by prepositional phrases.

About the Author: admin