Gerunds, infinitives, and participles, OH MY! Yeah. . .they are not the most titillating thing in the world to teach. In fact, when I had to teach the unit, I had to relearn all the terminology all over again (honestly, I don’t even recall any of my teachers specifically teaching the “gerund.” Hmmmm). Thus, why I think the most confusing aspect of the Verbals is the gerund: firstly, it’s hard to pronounce, and, secondly, what the HECK is its function?! (Even though I pronounced it correctly several times a day, half the students still insisted on calling it a “Grrrr-uh-nd.” Um. Nope, but as long as you know what it does, you could call it “Sally” for all I care! 🙂 )
Anywho, I came up with a “trick” that works almost every time when trying to detect a gerund in a sentence. I call it the “IT” rule. “IT” definitely helped my students become much more clear on if the -ing word was a gerund or just a participle. So here is my simple “IT” trick:
Because a gerund functions as a noun, I taught my students to replace the -ing word with a noun in the sentence: “IT.” If the sentence still makes sense, it’s probably (stress the probably) a gerund. For example:
Example 1: She loves dancing.
Change to: She loves IT.
YEP! We have a gerund!
Example 2: She is dancing in the rain.
Change to: She is IT in the rain.
Hmmm, NOPE. Not a gerund.
You may not like this trick or it may work really well for you. Either way, I am just glad I can share!
Two products to help you teach this unit: