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The Gerund comes from the OE verbal noun. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to verbal stem and coincides in form with Participle I. The Gerund has both verbal and noun characteristics.
Verb Characteristics of the Gerund
1. The Gerund has: tense and voice (transitive verbs only) distinctions:
1. The Indefinite Gerund expresses the action simultaneous with that of the finite form of the verb:
e.g. He tells (told, will tell) me of his writing a report.
• The Indefinite Gerund may also refer to the future when it is used with such verbs as to insist, to intend, to suggest:
2. The Perfect Gerund indicates an action prior to that expressed by the finite form of the verb:
e.g. I'm surprised of having done it.
Note: The Indefinite Gerund is commonly used instead of the Perfect Gerund after:
1) the prepositions on, upon, after, without, because the meaning of the preposition itself indicates that the action of the Gerund is prior to that of the finite verb:
After catching a few fish we prepared a delicious breakfast.
2) the verbs to remember, to excuse, to forgive, to thank:
e.g. I don't remember hearing the legend before.
Using the Perfect Gerund is possible though rare:
e.g. He didn't remember having been in that room.
2. The Gerund of a transitive verb may have a direct object:
e.g. Would you mind my opening the window?
3. The Gerund can be modified by an adverb:
e.g. I was surprised at his speaking English so fluently.
Noun Characteristics of the Gerund
1. Noun characteristics of the gerund are manifested in its syntactic functions. It can be used as a subject or an object (direct or prepositional) of the sentence. When used as an attribute or an AM the Gerund also shows its nominal character: it is always preceded by the preposition, which is a formal mark of the noun:
e.g. Crossing the river was a hard task (subject)
She intends leaving tomorrow (direct object)
I have the pleasure of living here (attribute)
After catching a few fish we prepared a delicious breakfast. (AM of time)
2. The Gerund may be used with the possessive pronoun or noun in the Possessive case:
e.g. I rely on her (Mary's) doing it properly.
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