Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grammar Trivia: What is a Gerund?

Last week my family and I had a fun time quizzing each other with trivia questions.  My husband stuck it to us with his geographical and historical knowledge.  I admit I was floundering at times, but also able to get him with a couple grammar questions.  It made me think that it might be fun to offer occasional grammar questions here. 

As writers, most of us are familiar with the basics of grammar.  We have a good grip of what a noun, verb and adjective is, but there's a lot more to grammar than that. 

I especially appreciated my teenage daughter's guess at what a gerund is.  If you will refer to answer number three, you might get a chuckle.  Cute as Danielle's answer was, gerunds actually belong to the verbal noun family.  A verbal noun is a word or phrase created from a verb and used as a noun. 

I already defined a gerund in the above trivia question - a verbal noun ending in "ing." 

Examples of gerunds:

Running every day is her passion. 
Playing with toys keeps most three-year-old children entertained. 

Another kind of verbal noun is an infinitive.  An infinitive is usually preceded by the word to.

Examples if infinitives:

To err is human.   
The best way to learn grammar is to practice.   
Verbal nouns may also serve as a predicate noun after a linking verb, or as the direct object of a transitive verb. 

Example of predicate noun:

The most common mistake is missing the important details. 

Example of direct object of a transitive verb: 

Babies love to cuddle

So that's the lowdown on what a verbal noun is and how it functions in a sentence.  Fairly simple, but not quite as cute as a small, fuzzy animal. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!  Until next time! 


Kerrie said...

great post and I love the trivia question box. I like idea of a gerund being a small, fuzzy animal.

Lisa Vella said...

Thank you Kerrie! I'm glad you like it - I wasn't sure if it was a cheesy idea, but went with it anyway. :)

Have an awesome evening!

MegB said...

Thanks for sharing this.

But one thing that I an very week in grammer coz right from my childwood I find it very boreing and confusing and due to this still I am Struggling for this.

But now I have covered lot so now it turns to interesting and I am learning lots

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