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A gerund (/ʤerʌnd/) is an -ing form derived from a verb, that acts as a noun, corresponding in most cases to an action or activity.

Some examples:

  • Smoking is bad for you
  • I like reading
  • Olympic sports such as swimming, weightlifting and fencing.

Gerunds can form the head of a gerund phrase. Gerunds can be modified either by adverbs that go after them or adjective in precede them.

  • "Running quickly is an advantage." (adverb)
  • "Quick running is an advantage." (adjective)

Students often use the base form of the verb instead, e.g. *"I like read books", though sometimes this processing error produces sentences that actually parse, e.g. "I like dance".