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Verbals: Gerunds, Infinitives, and Participles

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A verbal is a word formed from a verb but functioning as a different part of speech. There are three verbals in English.

The three verbals — gerunds, infinitives, and participles — are formed from verbs, but are never used alone as action words in sentences. Instead, verbals function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. These verbals are important in phrases.

Verbals: Infinitives

  • An infinitive is a verbal usually formed by placing “to” before the simple present form or base form of a verb.

Except: when the infinitive follows these special verbs in a sentence

Ex: fear, hear, help, let, make, see and watch

  • to” is dropped and the pattern will be like this:

special verb + direct object + infinitive – to

  • The infinitive is called a “bare infinitive”

Verbals: Gerunds and Infinitives

List of verbs followed by Infinitives

Verbs Followed by Object and an Infinitive


A gerund is a form of a verb that is used as a noun. It is formed by taking the present participle (-ing) of the verb, for example, “running” or “swimming.” Gerunds can be used in a variety of ways in a sentence, such as the subject, object, or complement.

  • When a verb ends in -ing, it may be a gerund or a present participle. It is important to understand that they are not the same.
  • When we use a verb in -ing form more like a noun, it is usually a gerund:  Jumping is fun.


  • Swimming is my favorite hobby. (used as the subject of the sentence)
  • He enjoys playing guitar. (used as the object of the verb “enjoys”)
  • Her dream is to become a doctor. (used as the complement of the sentence)
  • He is good at solving problems. (used as a subject complement)
  • He spent the afternoon painting the house. (used as an object of the preposition “painting”)


Ex: A growing baby sleeps much of the day.

Bonduel is a farming community.

  • past participle ends in -ed

Ex: The conquered territory was under Spanish control.

Troubled, she asked for advice.