Larus delawarensis
These Ring-billed Gulls are gathering on the shore of Lake Ontario.

G is for gerunds

A gerund is a verb that functions as a noun or adjective. It has the suffix, —ing.

a gathering of gulls

the gathering gulls

a gathering of grinning gulls

Not all words ending in —ing are gerunds.

ceiling, evening


G is for gender

Gender, in English, classifies many nouns as feminine, masculine, or neuter. Unlike many other languages, English does not change the preceding article to give every noun a gender. French and Spanish, for example, distinguish a gender for every singular noun.

Feminine nouns

Nouns ending in —ess or [rarely] —ex are feminine, but are falling out of use.

cow, queen, woman

authoress, hostess

Masculine nouns

bull, king, boyfriend

Neuter nouns for plurals

cattle, monarchs, people

French nouns

la vache, la reine, la femme

Spanish nouns

el toro, el rey, el hombre

 One problem in English is the lack of a neuter word for pronouns, forcing the awkward “they” to express the even more awkward “he or she” in sentences that are meant to be inclusive. Traditionally, the pronoun he represents “he or she”, and may still be used.

When a child begins to use grownup words, he or she [they] may stumble on the pronunciation.



  1. Look for gerunds in a book or the newspaper. Identify whether they are acting as adjectives or nouns.
  2. Rewrite the sentences using verbs instead of gerunds.
  3. Take a sentence apart and identify all the parts of speech that you can.


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