Many teachers have a love/hate relationship with teaching gerunds. On one hand, gerunds can easily be confused with participle adjectives as in “a dancing bear”, or they can be confused with the present participle in verb phrases as in, “We were joking.”

The following semi-controlled activity is designed to help clarify gerunds as nouns by having students identify and discuss activities that they enjoy.

Level: Intermediate

Time: about 20 minutes

Stage:  After a presentation and controlled practice with gerunds.

Preparation:  Make enough copies of this chart for each student.


  1. Demonstrate the chart on the whiteboard or projector.  Elicit examples and put them in the chart to provide a model. 
  2. Instruct students to fill in the chart with gerunds of their own.  They should put at least one gerund in each box and several if they can.
  3. Oral pair practice: Have students work in pairs to ask questions and discuss answers using the question stem provided. Consider modeling with a stronger student and pointing out the different ways that the gerund appears. For example:

A: What do you enjoy doing for fun?
B: I enjoy playing soccer.
A: Why?
B: Playing soccer helps me use my energy.

  1. Writing practice: Have students choose one box as a writing topic.  Have them write a paragraph about the activity and why they enjoy it.