A gerund is a verbal formed by adding ing to a verb. While it looks like the present participle, it functions as a noun, as in playing in We admired the young musician's tasteful playing.
Recognize a gerund when you see one.
Every gerund, without exception, ends in ing. Gerunds are not, however, all that easy to identify. The problem is that all present participles also end in ing.What is the difference?
Gerunds function as nouns. Thus, gerunds will be subjects, subject complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.
Present participles, on the other hand, complete progressive verbs or act as modifiers.
Read these examples of gerunds:
Since Francisco was five years old, swimming has been his passion.
Swimming = subject of the verb hasbeen.
Francisco's first love is swimming.
Swimming = subject complement of the verb is.
Francisco enjoys swimming more than spending time with his girlfriend Diana.
Swimming = direct object of the verb enjoys.
Francisco gives swimming all of his energy and time.
Swimming = indirect object of the verb gives.
When Francisco wore dive fins to class, everyone knew that he was devoted to swimming.Swimming = object of the preposition to.
These ing words are examples of present participles:
One day last summer, Francisco and his coach were swimming at Daytona Beach.
Swimming = present participle completing the past progressive verb were swimming.
A Great White shark ate Francisco's swimming coach.
Swimming = present participle modifying coach.
Now Francisco practices his sport in safeswimming pools.
Swimming = present participle modifying pools.
An infinitive is a verb form that consists of the word to followed by a verb, i.e., to jump, to listen; however, an infinitive is NOT used as a verb! It can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb.
For example, in the sentence, "I want to sleep," to sleep is the infinitive that is a noun and serves as the directobject of the transitive verb, want.
In the sentence, "Is there anything to eat right now?" to eat is the infinitive that is an adjective and modifies anything.
In the sentence, "My colleague quit to find another job," to find is the infinitive that modifies quit and is an adverb. Note: There is an object of an infinitive here: it's job.
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Difference between gerund and infinitive
Here is a brief review of the differences between gerunds and infinitives.
| Gerunds are formed with ING: | walking, talking, thinking, listening |
| Infinitives are formed with TO: | to walk, to talk, to think, to listen |
Gerunds and infinitives can do several jobs:
| Bothgerunds and infinitives can be the subject of a sentence:: |
Writing in English is difficult.
To write in English is difficult. |
| Both gerunds and infinitives can be the object of a verb:: |
I like writing in English.
I like to write in English. |
| Only gerunds can be the object of a preposition:: |
We are talking about writing in English. |
It is oftendifficult to know when to use a gerund and when to use an infinitive. These guidelines may help you:
| Gerunds are often used when actions are real, concrete or completed:: |
I stopped smoking.
(The smoking was real and happened until I stopped.) |
| Infinitives are often used when actions are unreal, abstract, or future:: |
I stopped to smoke.
(I was doing something else, and Istopped; the smoking had not happened yet.) |
I love to speak in English.
They like to play at home.
She likes to swim in the morning.
He prefers to wake up late every weekend.
To speak in Chinese Is hard.
I love speaking in English.
My sister is in the yard playing with the ball.
They like running.
We let’s start giving gifts.
He is at bank...