English Grammar Review
Verbs and Verbals

Gerunds, Participles, Infinitives

Verbals are built up from verbs to act like nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles, and infinitives.

Gerunds

A gerund starts with a verb and adds ing to function as a noun.

verb: work

gerund: working [noun]

It can then be used in the same ways that nouns can be used.

Living in Jordan is fun.
[subject]

We appreciate your helping.
[direct object]

Her least favorite job was selling.
[subject complement]

Mr. Haddad chastised me for complaining.
[object of preposition]

Gerunds often work with other words in gerund phrases.

Her least favorite activity was promoting the service cheerfully.

promoting [gerund]

the service [direct object of the action expressed in the gerund]

cheerfully [adverb for the action expressed in the gerund]

Participles

A participle starts with a verb and adds extra letters to then function as an adjective. A present participle ends in ing.

Mohammad has a demanding boss.

A past participle ends in a variety of letters such as ed or en.

Layan redirected the saved program.

Absolutely driven, Yousef works long days.

Past participles based on irregular verbs are unique.

Sarah sorted through her sent emails for a known acquaintence.

Participles often work with other words in participial phrases.

Employees paid bonuses regularly tend to be loyal.

paid [participle]

bonuses [direct object of action expressed in participle]

early [adverb for the action expressed in the participle]

Beginning a sentence, a participial phrase requires a comma.

Paid bonuses regularly, employees tend to be loyal.

Infinitives

An infinitive starts with a verb and adds the word to in front of it, to function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.

verb: sell

infinitive: to sell

To sell was our only option.
[noun]

Now is the best time to sell.
[adjective]

To sell, they will need a good price.
[adverb]

Note: Adverbial infinitives can be identified by inserting the test words in order in front of the infinitive.

In order to sell, they will need a good price.
[adverb]

Infinitives often work with other words in infinitive phrases.

They agreed to sell us their company.

to sell us their company
[phrase = direct object of verb]

to sell [infinitive]

us [indirect object of action expressed in infinitive]

their company [direct object of action expressed in infinitive]

Choice of verbal

Correctly choosing one over the other can be very complicated. This is a topic that could fill an entire course. But we will focus on the complications that can arise when using the verbs forget and remember. These verbs change meaning depending on which verbal you use as the object of the verb.

Ongoing:

Mr. Saleh forgets to call his office in Aqaba.
[He regularly forgets to call.]

Mr. Saleh forgets calling his office in Aqaba.
[He did call, but now he doesn't remember the activity.]

Mr. Saleh forgets having called his office in Aqaba.
[He did call, but now he doesn't remember the completed action.]

Looking back:

Mr. Saleh forgot to call his office in Aqaba.
[He did not call.]

Mr. Saleh forgot calling his office in Aqaba.
[He did call, but later he didn't remember the activity.]

Mr. Saleh forgot having called his office in Aqaba.
[He did call, but later he didn't remember the completed action.]

Ongoing:

Ms. Haddad remembers to call her office in Amman.
[She regularly remembers to call.]

Ms. Haddad remembers calling her office in Amman.
[She did call, and at this time she remembers the activity.]

Ms. Haddad remembers having called her office in Amman.
[She did call, and at this time she remembers the completed action.]

Looking back:

Ms. Haddad remembered to call her office in Amman.
[She did call.]

Ms. Haddad remembered calling her office in Amman.
[She did call, and sometime later she did remember the activity.]

Ms. Haddad remembered having called her office in Amman.
[She did call, and sometime later she did remember the completed action.]

Lesson: Gerunds, Participles, Infinitives
Module: Verbs and Verbals
Course: English Grammar Review