In English, the gerund is identical in form to the present participle (ending in -ing) and can behave as a verb within a clause (so that it may be modified by an adverb or have an object), but the clause as a whole (sometimes consisting of only one word, the gerund itself) acts as a noun within the larger sentence. For example: Editing this article is easy.
In "Editing this article" (although this is traditionally known as a phrase, it is referred to as a non-finite clause in modern linguistics), the word "Editing" behaves as a verb; the phrase "this article" is the object of that verb. "Editing this article" acts as a noun phrase within the sentence as a whole, though; it is the subject of the verb "is."
Other examples of the gerund:
I like swimming. (direct object)
Swimming is fun. (subject)
Verb patterns with the gerund
Verbs that are often followed by a gerund include admit, adore, anticipate, appreciate, avoid, carry on, consider, contemplate, delay, deny, describe, detest, dislike, enjoy, escape, fancy, feel, finish, give, hear, imagine, include, justify, listen to, mention, mind, miss, notice, observe, perceive, postpone, practice, quit, recall, report, resent, resume, risk, see, sense, sleep, stop, suggest, tolerate and watch. Additionally, prepositions are often followed by a gerund.
* I quit smoking.
* We postponed making any decision.
* After two years of deciding, we finally made a decision.
* We heard whispering.
* They denied having avoided me.
* He talked me into coming to the party.
* They frightened her out of voicing her opinion.
* Kong is fighting for his love to JieJie.
Verbs followed by a gerund or a to-infinitive
With little change in meaning begin, continue, start; hate, like, love, prefer
With would, the verbs hate, like, love, and prefer are usually followed by the to-infinitive.
* I would like to work there. (more usual than working)
In these examples, if the subject of the verb is not the subject of the second verb, the second verb must be a gerund (instead of an infinitive).
If one is watching sports on television, for example, one can react to the programs only as follows:
* I hate boxing.
* I love swimming.
* I enjoy golfing.
With a change in meaning
dread and hate:
These two verbs are followed by a to-infinitive when talking subjunctively (usually when using to think), but by a gerund when talking about general dislikes.
* I dread / hate to think what she will do.
* I dread / hate seeing him.
forget and remember:
When these have meanings that are used to talk about the future from the given time, the to-infinitive is used, but when looking back in time, the gerund.
* She forgot to tell me our plans. (She did not tell me, although she should have.)
* She forgot telling me our plans. (She told me, but then forgot having done so.)
* I remembered to go to work. (I remembered that I needed to go to work, and so I did.)
* I remembered going to work. (I remembered that I had gone to work.)
* I cannot bear to see you suffer like this. (You are suffering now.)
* I cannot bear being pushed around in crowds. (I never like that.)
* After winning the semi-finals, he went on to play in the finals. (He completed the semi-finals and later played in the finals.)
* He went on giggling, not having noticed the teacher enter. (He continued doing so.)
* I did not mean to scare you off. (I did not intend to scare you off.)
* Taking a new job in the city meant leaving behind her familiar surroundings. (If she took the job, she would have to leave behind her familiar surroundings.)
advise, recommend and forbid:
These are followed by a to-infinitive when there is an object as well, but by a gerund otherwise.
* The police advised us not to enter the building, for a murder had occurred. (Us is the object of advised.)
* The police advised against our entering the building. (Our is used for the gerund entering.)
consider, contemplate and recommend:
These verbs are followed by a to-infinitive only in the passive or with an object pronoun.
* People consider her to be the best. – She is considered to be the best.
* I am considering sleeping over, if you do not mind.
* We regret to inform you that you have failed your exam. (polite or formal form of apology)
* I very much regret saying what I said. (I wish that I had not said that.)
When a to-infinitive is used, the subject is shown to make an effort at something, attempt or endeavor to do something. If a gerund is used, the subject is shown to attempt to do something in testing to see what might happen.
* Please try to remember to post my letter.
* I have tried being stern, but to no avail.
Gerunds preceded by a genitive
Because of its noun properties, the genitive (possessive case) is preferred for a noun or pronoun preceding a gerund.
* We enjoyed their [genitive] singing.
This usage is preferred in formal writing. The objective case is often used in place of the possessive, especially in casual situations:
* I do not see it making any difference.
In some cases, either the possessive or the objective case may be logical:
* The teacher's shouting startled the student. (Shouting is a gerund, and teacher's is a possessive pronoun. The shouting is the subject of the sentence.)
* The teacher shouting startled the student. (Shouting is a participle describing the teacher. This sentence means The teacher who was shouting startled the student. In this sentence, the subject is the teacher herself.)
Either of these sentences could mean that the student was startled because the teacher was shouting.
Using the objective case can be awkward if the gerund is singular but the other noun is plural. It can look like a problem with subject-verb agreement:
* The politicians' debating was interesting.
One might decide to make to be plural so that debating can be a participle.
* The politicians debating were interesting.
Gerunds and present Participles
Insofar as there is a distinction between gerunds and present participles, it is generally fairly clear which is which; a gerund or participle that is the subject or object of a preposition is a gerund if it refers to the performance of an action (but present participles may be used substantively to refer to the performer of an action), while one that modifies a noun attributively or absolutely is a participle. The main source of potential ambiguity is when a gerund-participle follows a verb; in this case, it may be seen either as a predicate adjective (in which case it is a participle), or as a direct object or predicate nominative (in either of which cases it is a gerund).
In this case, a few transformations can help distinguish them. In the table that follows, ungrammatical sentences are marked with asterisks, per common linguistic practice; it should be noted that the transformations all produce grammatical sentences with similar meanings when applied to sentences with gerunds but either ungrammatical sentences, or sentences with completely different meanings, when applied to sentences with participles.