What is Gerund Phrase

What is Gerund Phrase

A gerund is a noun that takes the verb from –ing. Words like sleeping, dreaming, smoking, watching, dancing, writing, reading, etc. can all be used as gerunds. A gerund phrase is a phrase that consists of a gerund, its object, and other modifiers. A gerund phrase begins with a gerund. Like all gerunds, gerund phrases also act as nouns. Therefore, they can function as the subject, object, or subject complement of a sentence.

Examples of Gerund Phrases

Given below are some examples of gerund phrases. The gerund is written in bold, and the rest of the phrase is underlined.

Eating short eats frequently can increase your weight.

I thanked for her helping me in difficult times.

Riding a roller costar doesn’t scare her little son.

Playing cricket takes most of his energy.

Digging the garden has become our dog’s favorite activity.

Our dog loves swimming in the garden pond.

She was arrested for vandalizing public property.

Holding a Smartphone in one hand is not an easy task.

Parts of a Gerund Phrase

Although a gerund functions as a noun, it is formed from a verb. It has retained some qualities of verbs. The ability to take a direct object is one of the main features of a gerund. The direct object of a gerund is known as the gerund complement.

Eating an apple

Riding a roller coaster

Drinking a coke

Gerund complements are a part of gerund phrases. Gerunds can be also modified by adding various modifiers.

Riding a roller coaster at the carnival

Eating an apple quickly

What is Gerund Phrase

Riding a roller coaster is fun.

Functions of a Gerund Phrase

Since a gerund phrase has similar functions as a noun, it can act as a subject, object or a subject complement.


Playing basketball takes up most of his time.

Climbing this wall is not an easy job.

Direct Object:

Aimee loves swimming in their new swimming pool.

He likes watching TV with his son.

Object of Preposition:

The police arrested him for vandalizing public property.

They thanked me for helping their daughter.

Subject Complement:

His hobby is playing computer games.

Walking his dog is his favorite activity.

Gerunds vs Participles

Although gerunds end with –ing, not all words that end with –ing are gerunds. Present participles also look identical as gerunds. But they cannot function as nouns. It is important to identify the difference between the two. Present participle often acts as a verbal or an adjective whereas a gerund always acts as a noun.

Giving up was never an option for her. – Gerund phrase

Giving up his effort, he returned home. – Present participle phrase

Gerund Phrase – Summary

  • A gerund phrase is a phrase that consists of a gerund, its object, and other modifiers.
  • A gerund phrase begins with a gerund.
  • A gerund phrase functions as a noun and, therefore, can function as a subject, object or subject complement.

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