Verbs followed by either the gerund or the infinitive
* On the difference between the use of the gerund and the infinitive with some verbs see § 127.
I can’t bear your (you) being so sad.
We can’t afford going to the cinema too often now, we are revising for our exams.
I prefer walking home (to taking a bus).
After verbs taking an object and an objective predicative the gerund, or rather a gerundial phrase or construction, is preceded by an introductory object it.
I find it strange our going without you.
I think it no use your (you) arguing about trifles.
As a prepositional object the gerund may follow (a) monotransitive prepositional verbs, (b) ditransitive verbs taking a direct and a prepositional object, (c) adjectives and statives and (d) participle II, generally when used as a predicative.
We all agree to your opening the discussion.
Happiness consists largely in having true friends.
All depends on the doctor being sent for in time.
They are thinking of doing something for him.
Roy accused me of disliking him.
What prevented you from becoming a professional actor?
Who will help me in hanging these pictures?
You should blame yourself for getting such a low mark.
I had no difficulty in getting the tickets for the concert.
I don’t have the TV too loud, because I’m afraid of disturbing the neighbours.
We are all proud of our citizen’s getting the first prize.
Ned will be responsible for arranging the farewell party.
Don’t be sorry about missing the first scene, it was rather dull.
I’m not used to being talked to in that rude way.
The teacher was displeased with the boys being noisy.
We were surprised at your leaving the party.
A teacher shouldn’t get tired of explaining things to his pupils.
The gerund as attribute
§ 125. When used as an attribute, the gerund modifies nouns, mainly abstract nouns. It is always preceded by a preposition, in the vast majority of cases by of, as in the following combinations: the art of teaching, the habit of speaking, a certain way of walking, a chance of seeing somebody, a hope of getting a ticket, an idea of going to the cinema, an intention of learning another foreign language, etc.
There is a chance of catching the train.
Professor N spoke about new methods of teaching English to foreign students.
The idea of him being in Paris was not a pleasant one.
Lucy had the impression of being carried upstairs.
Isn’t there any hope of your being able to go with us at all?
In some cases the choice of the preposition depends on the requirements of the modified noun, as in surprise at, experience in, skill in, apology (excuse) for, objection to.
The boy showed his skill in building model boats.
Imagine his surprise at seeing me.
When a gerund modifies a concrete noun it is preceded by the preposition for and the whole gerundial phrase as attribute expresses the purpose or destination of the thing mentioned.
The barometer is an instrument for measuring the pressure of the air.
A gerund as attribute may precede the noun it modifies in phrases bordering on a compound noun. A premodifying attribute is used without a preposition, as in a dancing master, a diving suit, a reading lamp, a spending habit, a working method, a writing career, a swimming pool, a walking stick, etc.*
* See §132.
The gerund as adverbial modifier
§ 126.Owing to the variety of prepositions which may precede the gerund in the function of an adverbial modifier, a gerund may have different meanings.
1) As an adverbial modifier of timeit may characterize the main verb from the viewpoint of priority, simultaneity, or posteriority. It may also indicate the starting point of the action. The prepositions used are on, after, in, before, since.
One day, on returning to his hotel, he found a note in his room.
At first he couldn’t understand. After thinking it over he hit upon the explanation.
And I’ll wash the dishes and clean up before coming to bed.
I had had a lot of thoughts since leaving the office.
2) As an adverbial modifier of reason it is introduced by the prepositions because of, for, from, for fear of, on account of, through.
So you see I couldn’t sleep for worrying.
We lost ourselves through not knowing the way.
He (Jolyon) took care not to face the future for fear of breaking up his untroubled manner.
3) As an adverbial modifier of manner the gerund generally occurs with the prepositions by or without.
You will achieve a lot by felling the truth.
She dressed without making a sound.
4) As an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances it requires the preposition without.
They danced without speaking. (= They danced and didn’t speak)
The door opened without having been knocked on.
5) As an adverbial modifier of concession it is preceded by the preposition in spite of:
I don’t ask any questions in spite of there being a lot of questions to ask.
6) As an adverbial modifier of condition it takes the prepositions without, but for, in case of.
You won’t enrich your vocabulary without making use of an English dictionary. (= if you don’t make use
But for meeting John, I shouldn’t have become an English teacher.
7) As an adverbial modifier of purpose it is introduced by the preposition for, though this pattern is rather rare.
They took her to the station for questioning.
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