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Gerunds are deverbal nouns which inherit the subcategorization properties of the corresponding verbs. Moreover, gerunds appear in syntactic positions typical for nouns, although their behaviour is strictly speaking verbal in nature.


English verbs have a gerundive counterpart ending in the suffix -ing (cf. (ii)). These nominalizations in -ing, like verbs, can be modified by adverbials, while nouns can only be modified by adjectives (cf. (iii)):

(i)   Tom critized the book
      Tom sarcastically criticized the book
(ii)  Tom's criticizing the book
      Tom's sarcastically/*sarcastic criticizing the book
(iii) Tom's criticism of the book
      Tom's *sarcastically/sarcastic criticism of the book

Gerunds are also called verbal nouns.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Chomsky, N. 1970. Remarks on Nominalization, in: Jacobs, R. and P. Rosenbaum (eds.) Readings in English Transformational Grammar, Blaisdell, Waltham, MA.
  • Scalise, S. 1984. Generative Morphology, Foris, Dordrecht.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.