Take a look at this list of sports. Do you notice anything about these names of sports? All of these words are nouns, and they all end with the letters –ing. That’s because all of these nouns are gerunds!
What is a gerund? Gerund is a grammar term for a verb that acts like a noun. When -ing is added to a verb, the verb becomes a noun that describes a person, place, or thing.
In sports, the gerund form is used for sports or activities that people do individually. Sometimes people compete against each other to see who is the fastest or the best, but most people do these sports for fun. Gerunds are not used for team sports or ball sports, like basketball, hockey, or tennis, or activities like gymnastics, martial arts, or yoga.
Sports gerunds can be used as the subject and object of a sentence, as well as the object of a preposition:
Surfing is very relaxing.
I love to go skiing.
I love to go to skiing.)
Teenage boys spend a lot of time skateboarding.
She’s not very good at rollerblading. She falls down a lot.
NOTE: Don’t say “
go to skiing” or “ go to swimming.” Don’t use a preposition between the verb go and the sport gerund.
LEARN MORE: English Vocabulary: How to use the verb “go”
What’s the difference?
I like skiing. = I like the activity
I like to ski. = I like to do the activity
It is a very minor difference. Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the difference.
A gerund is formed by adding –ing to a verb, so all of the sports in the list above also have a verb form:
Gerunds vs. Infinitives
The verbs like, love, hate, and try can be followed by both the gerund form and the infinitive form of the verb (to + verb):
I love skiing.
I hate skiing.
I don’t like to ski.
Have you tried skiing?
The verbs enjoy, dislike, and go can only be followed by a gerund:
I enjoy skiing.
I enjoy to ski.
I dislike skiing.
I dislike to ski.
My friend and I are going hiking this weekend. Do you want to come?
My friend and I are going to hiking this weekend.