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All About Gerunds, Participles,

and Infinitives

The words of the world want to make sentences.

Gaston Bachelard

gerunds: nouns
participles: adjectives
infinitives: nouns, adjectives, and adverbs

Begin a mini-lesson by reading aloud the Bachelard quote at the top of the page. Explain that
some of those words of the world are gerunds, participles, and infinitives. Write a short
definition of each and an example, such as the following, on the board:
A gerund is formed by adding ing to a verb. It always acts as a noun:
Dancing to music makes me happy.
 participle is formed by adding ing or ed to a verb. It always acts as an adjective:
The dancing girl turned up the volume on her overloaded iPod.
 n infinitive is formed by adding to in front of the verb. It can act as a
noun, adjective, or adverb:
To dance is my dream. (noun: subject)
I have a date to dance on Saturday. (adjective modifying date)
I went to the gym to dance. (adverb modifying went)
<Zgj cYh!



Grades 68
2010 by
Sarah Glassco


tic Teachin
g Resour

ck, Scholas

<Zgj cYh!

Add exam

ples of geru


nds, parti



s you com

e across

: smiling,
are used
as noun

in the pass



Smiling for
too long
makes my
He was sent
face hurt
to the princ
ipals offic
e for goin
was upse
g to the
t by our
gym with
leaving the
out perm
party early

verb + ing
or ed: grinn
ing, grinn
Present parti
ed; teari
ciples are
ng, torn
formed by
Past parti
adding ing
ciples are
to the end
formed by
of the verb
adding ed
have irreg
ular form
to the end
s: bringing,
of the verb
. However,
s are used
seeing, saw.
some past
as adjective
The grinn
ing boy mad
e me smile
A dusty lace
, too. (pres
curtain, tatte
ent parti
red and torn
, swung
in the lazy
breeze. (pas

to + verb

: to smile,
to break,
to be
s are used
as nouns,
s, and adve

t participle

2010 by



of three

hours ever
g all your
y day. (nou
teeth is the
best way
to smile
, a person
widely. (adje
must be
truly happ
y. (adverb)


Distribute a copy of the Who We Are reproducible on page 52 to each

student. Use it with students to document all the gerunds, participles, and infinitives in the
model passage. Encourage them to record the gerunds, participles, and infinitives they see
in other print sources. You also may want to refer them back to this reproducible in the next
lesson, on phrases and clauses, pages 4752.

Grab Em!,

e for a total

That Really

To smile

is to smil



Grades 68


My goal





verb + ing

Date ____



ciples, and

g Resour

Grab Em!,

Distribute copies of the passage Wrong Side of the Bed on page 43 to

students. Allow time for them to read the passage on their own, or ask them to
follow along as you read it aloud. Use the teaching chart on page 42 to discuss
how the writer uses gerunds, participles, and infinitives in the passage.


tic Teachin

That Really



ck, Scholas


(Also see the lesson on phrases and clauses, pages 4752.)


Waking up
on the wron
g side of
see, my bed
the bed sent
sits tight
me swim
in a corn
ming in spac
er of my
and so does
the right
ly. Really!
. The head2
side. I wok
of the bed
e up on the
butts up
my bedroom
right side
against a
wall and
of the bed,
into an alter
ounce gupp
which mea
nate univ
y in a huge
ns I wen
erse. Sudd
t right
fish tank
enly, I felt
sink. Look
. My arms
as weightles
ing down,
and feet
began to
I realized
s as a two4
move invo
that I wasn
Then I reali
t treading
zed that
as I bega
I was drift
n to
was tread
Saturn. I
ing past
ing air!
the hazy
one of the
rings of
rings and
figure out
held on until
how to quic
I could
kly get hom
but I was
e. A com
able to reac 5
et shot past
h out and
comet drop
grab its tail.
ped me off
The spee
left only
000 mile
s from hom
8,008 mile
e. That
s to go!
I was too
close to an
into its orbit
ered plan
et and got
. Burned
by the sun
planet for
and then
bitten by
hours and 6
the cold,
hours. Fortu
I spun arou
me out of
nately, a
nd that hot
shuttle ship
the planets
and cold
from anot
orbit. Wat
sight mad
her galaxy
ching Earth
e me hom
from the
esick. I mad 7
and pluc
Dont ask
e a whispere
was fun,
me to tell
d wish: I
but then
you how
wish I were
. I wonder
home in
how muc
bed. Then
h money
I was!
I owe for
that shut
ride? . . .
6[ aUV` ]N
``NTR f\
bYY Re]Y\
_R aU
Name ____
R S\YY\d
_b[Q` ________

Sarah Glassco


Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Gerunds, participles, and infinitives are formed from verbs, but each
performs a different function in a sentence. This mini-lesson focuses
on the following:

To create a gerund, add ing to the end of a verb.
A gerund is used as a noun.
Students may find it difficult to tell the
difference between a gerund and a present
participle. Emphasize that to identify a gerund
correctly they will have to understand which
part of speech the word is.


1 To find the subject of this sentence, ask
yourself, What sent the writer swimming in
space? The complete subject is Waking up on the
wrong side of the bed. Since Waking is used as a
noun, its a gerund.
7 Notice that there is no punctuation setting off
the gerund from the rest of the sentence. Gerunds
dont require any punctuation.

To create a present participle, add ing to the end of a verb. To create a past participle, add
ed to the end of a verb.
A participle is used as an adjective.


2 Swimming is a present participle because it acts
as an adjective modifying me.

A present participle ends in ing. A past

participle usually ends in ed.
Some past participles have irregular forms: the
bent or broken branch.

4 Both uses of treading are verbs; they go with the

verb was. Looking is a present participle.
6 Burned by the sun and bitten by the cold are
adjectives describing the writer. Both are past
participles, and bitten is an irregular participle.

To create an infinitive, add to before a verb.
An infinitive can be used as a noun, adjective,
or adverb.


3 Some verbs, such as begin, decide, agree, and
want, are followed by infinitives.

Students may confuse infinitives with

prepositional phrases. Remind them that an
infinitive consists of to plus a verb, while a
prepositional phrase consists of to plus a noun
or a pronoun.

5 This sentence contains a split infinitivethe

adverb quickly splits the infinitive to get.

Its really okay to split an infinitive. This myth

got started because a lot of our language comes
from Latin words. You cant split infinitives in
Latin because in Latin the infinitive is simply
the verb without to before it.


Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources



Gerunds, Participles, and Infinitives

Wrong Side of the Bed

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed sent me swimming in spaceliterally. Really! You

see, my bed sits tight in a corner of my bedroom. The head of the bed butts up against a wall
and so does the right side. I woke up on the right side of the bed, which means I went right

Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources

through my bedroom wall and into an alternate universe. Suddenly, I felt as weightless as a twoounce guppy in a huge fish tank. My arms and feet began to move involuntarily as I began to

sink. Looking down, I realized that I wasnt treading waterI was treading air!

Then I realized that I was drifting past the hazy rings of

Saturn. I grabbed one of the rings and held on until I could

figure out how to quickly get home. A comet shot past me,

but I was able to reach out and grab its tail. The speeding
comet dropped me off 500,000,000 miles from home. That
left only 2,569,838,008 miles to go!

I was too close to an undiscovered planet and got pulled

into its orbit. Burned by the sun and then bitten by the cold, I spun around that hot and cold

planet for hours and hours. Fortunately, a shuttle ship from another galaxy stopped and plucked
me out of the planets orbit. Watching Earth from the shuttles window was fun, but then the

sight made me homesick. I made a whispered wish: I wish I were home in bed. Then I was!
Dont ask me to tell you how. I wonder how much money I owe for that shuttle ride? . . .

In this passage, youll explore the following:




Gerunds, Participles, and Infinitives

Teachers: Duplicate these prompts on sturdy paper and then cut them apart. You may also write the prompts on the board or display them onscreen.

$- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ----------------------------------------------- - - - - - - Name _______________________________________________________________ Date _______________

Write! What is your least favorite chore or job to do around the

house? Explain why you dislike doing this chore so much. Make
readers really feel how much you dislike it.

With the Rest of the Class: Exchange your writing with a partner.

Wr ite yo ur
full resp on se
on a sepa ra te
sh eet of pa per.

After reading each others work, compare and contrast the chores
and your response to them. Then talk about how you used gerunds,
participles, and/or infinitives in your writing.

$- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ----------------------------------------------- - - - - - - Name _______________________________________________________________ Date _______________

The Three Faces of . . .

Write! Read the passage Wrong Side of the Bed again.
Think about the elements that go into writing a fantasy.
Then write your own fantasy passage. Before you begin writing,
think of a verb. In your passage include three forms of that verb

Wr ite yo ur
full resp on se
on a sepa ra te
sh eet of pa per.

gerund, participle, and infinitive. Read over your work to make sure
youve used all three forms of the verb, and that youve used each
one correctly.

With the Rest of the Class: Exchange passages with a partner. See if you can identify which
verb he or she included and find all its forms.


Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Dont Make Me Do That!

Activities: Gerunds, Participles, And Infinitives

What Did Shakespeare Mean?

Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources

The title character in Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, says the following:

To be or not to be, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir totis a consummation
Devoutly to be wishd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. . . .

Write Hamlets soliloquy on the board or make copies for the group. Have members take turns
reading it aloud. What do they think Hamlet means? Guide them in a rewrite of his speech
using modern-day language.
With the Class: As a class, talk about Shakespeares use of infinitives. How do the infinitives

help the rhythm and flow of the speech? How did groups incorporate infinitives into their

Participle Poetry
Have students think about a noun to write a poem about. It could be something as
concrete as leaf or as abstract as freedom. The title of the poem is the noun selected.
Challenge pairs to write the poem using only participles to describe the noun.
With the Class: After pairs practice, ask them to perform a choral reading of their poem for the

class and then discuss how they created their poem.

Is to Your BFF? Does ing Follow You Around?

Play a grammar game featuring gerunds, participles, and infinitives. Here are
the rules: Three people are contestants and the rest of the class is the audience.
The teacher assigns the gerund, participle, or infinitive form of the same verb
to each contestant, for example: Contestant 1irritating (gerund), Contestant 2irritating
(present participle), Contestant 3to irritate. Then the teacher challenges the audience to ask
questions to identify one of the forms, for example: Which contestant is a participle that means
annoying? The audience takes turns asking each contestant a question to find the answer
without asking obvious questions such as Are you a participle?
With the Class: Discuss the following questions: Which was the easiest form to identifygerunds,

participles, or infinitives? What made it difficult to identify irregular forms of participles? Which
questions helped you tell the difference between a gerund and a present participle?


Name _____________________________________________________________

Date _________________

Gerunds, Participles, and Infinitives

Who We Are
Add examples of gerunds, participles, and infinitives you come across in the passage.

verb + ing: smiling, going

Gerunds are used as nouns.

Smiling for too long makes my face hurt.

He was sent to the principals office for going to the gym without permission.
Terrence was upset by our leaving the party early.

verb + ing or ed: grinning, grinned; tearing, torn
Present participles are formed by adding ing to the end of the verb.
Past participles are formed by adding ed to the end of the verb. However, some past participles
have irregular forms: bringing, brought; seeing, saw.
Participles are used as adjectives.

The grinning boy made me smile, too. (present participle)

A dusty lace curtain, tattered and torn, swung in the lazy breeze. (past participle)

to + verb: to smile, to break, to be
Infinitives are used as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.

My goal is to smile for a total of three hours every day. (noun)

Displaying all your teeth is the best way to smile widely. (adjective)
To smile genuinely, a person must be truly happy. (adverb)


Grammar Activities That Really Grab 'Em Sarah Glasscock, Scholastic Teaching Resources