Gerund as a Direct Object

I. Explanation

This target structure is a gerund acting as a direct object. A gerund is a verb that has been changed to a noun by the addition of "ing." In a lesson, one activity could be to have a sentence written on a card, with a blank space for the student to fill the gerund in. By integrating this activity with a content area, it encourages the students to both learn this syntactic structure, as well as apply it in an everyday situation. This module uses goals from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study in 6th grade Science, and focuses on the deciduous forest.


Subject        Verb        Gerund phrase acting as a direct object

        Sue liked walking in the forest.     WALK+ING
In this example, "walking" is the direct object. It identifies what Sue liked to do. The verb "walk" has been changed to a noun by adding "ing."

        Maggie will try finding a deer.     FIND+ING
This example the verb "try", in the future tense, indicates that Maggie will do something. She is standing looking at the trees deciding what is going to happen later. She is not actully doing the action, but thinking about it.

        Sue enjoyed picking up the leaves.     PICK+ING
She has already picked up the leaves, or completed the action, as indicated by the verb, "enjoy", being in the past tense. Gerunds typically express something "real, vivid, or fulfilled" and will follow specific verbs expressing action already experienced: "enjoy," "avoid," "risk," "admit," "finish," as shown in the third example.

        Begin looking for more firewood!     LOOK+ING
The last is a command, telling someone to start looking for firewood, and the subject, "you", is understood. In other words, none of the actions are actually taking place at the moment, but will happen in the future. The example shows the fire almost dying, so the girl is encouraging him to start looking for more wood before it goes out.

More examples of verbs which may be followed by gerunds as direct objects:

attempt  hesitate prefer
avoid intend propose
begin keep quit
cease keep on remember
consider love start
continue miss stop
dislike neglect try
dread practice undertake

II Content area


III Core Learning Activities

Read various articles on woods or forests, and underline all the gerunds.
    Create a poster or script of gerunds to use in a hike.
    Learn new vocabulary you can use on a hike.
We will have a series of sentences with blanks to fill in with gerunds.
    Take a hike and bring your camera. When you get the pictures back, think of gerunds you can use to talk about them.
Create your own sentences using gerunds as direct objects. This can be done either as groups in the class, or as a whole class.
    Write about the hike using gerunds.

IV Lesson Plan

Students: These are sixth grade deaf students in a residential school. All of the students are profoundly deaf.


Given sentence strips containing gerunds, the students will illustrate the sentence strips to depict their meaning with 100% accuracy.


Passage about forests that includes gerunds
Sentence strips with the gerund written in blue


In previous lessons, the teacher will have explained the information in the target structure, using examples illustrated about gerunds. Students will have already completed an activity in which they circled gerunds in written text passages about forests. "We have started talking about gerunds. Remember when I explained gerunds to you, I drew pictures so that you would understand the sentence with the gerund in it. Sometimes, we use pictures to illustrate concepts."


"Today you are going to draw pictures to show gerunds. I am going to give you a sentence and you will draw a picture of the sentence."


The teacher will give each student a sentence strip, and ask each student to read/sign their sentence strip and tell what is happening in the sentence. For example, Jack will read, "Sue enjoyed picking up leaves in the forest."


"I want each of you to take out a sheet of paper and develop some ideas for your illustration. You can draw your ideas or you can write them. Then I will talk with you about your picture. I am going to give you some posterboard for you to illustrate your gerund." The students will illustrate their gerund sentences.


"Tomorrow, we are going to show our illustrations to each other. We are going to see if you can think of the correct gerund by looking at the picture."

V Resources/References

Reed, Richard. A Process to Developing Language With Hearing Impaired Children. Columbia, MO: General Printing Service, 1986.
Stiffler, Lee Anne. Integrated Science. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 1994.

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