Home » Intermediate English Grammar » Infinitives and Gerunds

Infinitives and Gerunds

You have already discovered infinitives and how they are used as verbs. But infinitives can be used in other ways as well.

  • They can be used as nouns: To run would be cowardly. (subject of the sentence)
  • They can be used as adverbsWe came here to thank you. (why we came)
  • They can be used as adjectivesHe is the man to trust. (modifies man)

Gerunds look like present participles: a verb plus an -ing ending (runninglookingbuying, etc.). But gerunds are different from present participles. Present participles are used to form an action in progress or incomplete: I was runningshe is speakingthey are helping. And as a participle they can be used as adjectives. But a gerund is used as a noun. Look at these examples:

Present ParticipleGerund
She was baking cookies.Baking takes a lot of time.
I am living alone.I don’t like living alone.
We have been relaxing at home.Relaxing will help relieve the tension.
He was spelling the new words.Spelling is my best subject.

Leave a Comment

error: Alert: Content is protected !!