Gerunds are one of the most challenging aspects of English grammar, and one of the most confusing aspects of gerunds is understanding their role in subject-verb agreement.
A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun. It ends in -ing and is often used to represent an action or concept. Gerund phrases, which are groups of words consisting of a gerund and any related modifiers or complements, can function as the subject of a sentence. However, because gerunds are verbs that function as nouns, they can be tricky when it comes to subject-verb agreement.
The verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in number and person. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. If it is plural, the verb must be plural. In the case of gerunds, the verb in the sentence must agree with the gerund’s function as a noun.
If the gerund phrase is the subject of the sentence, the verb must be singular. For example, “Cooking is my favorite hobby.” In this sentence, cooking is the gerund phrase functioning as the subject, and the verb is singular because cooking is a singular noun.
If the gerund phrase is part of a compound subject, the verb must be plural. For example, “Eating and sleeping are the two things I enjoy.” In this sentence, “eating” and “sleeping” are both gerund phrases that function as part of a compound subject, and the verb is plural because the subject is plural.
If the gerund phrase is the object of the sentence, the verb must agree with the subject. For example, “She enjoys cooking and eating.” In this sentence, “She” is the subject, and the gerund phrases “cooking” and “eating” are objects. The verb “enjoys” agrees with the singular subject “She.”
It is also important to pay attention to the modifiers in a sentence that can affect the subject-verb agreement of gerunds. Modifiers such as “each” and “every” will always take a singular verb, while modifiers like “both” and “many” will take a plural verb.
In conclusion, understanding gerunds and their role in subject-verb agreement is essential for proper grammar usage. Always ensure that the verb in a sentence agrees with the gerund’s function as a noun, as well as any modifiers that may affect the subject-verb agreement. By following these guidelines, you can communicate effectively and correctly in written English.