Verbals - An Overview

What are Verbals?

Verbals are verb-based nouns or adjectives that express action or a state of being. They are powerful language tools that can make written and spoken English much more interesting and readable.

What are the Types of Verbals?

Verbals have three grammatical forms: gerunds, infinitives, and participles. Below is a preview of each type.

1. Gerund

Verb-looking words ending in -ing  that function as nouns are called gerunds. This type of verbal acts as a subject, direct object, subject complement, or object of the preposition in sentences.

  • Every parting is a form of death as every reunion is a type of heaven.
  • All we got from this guy is a warrant for jaywalking.
  • Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
  • I don't believe that wishing works. We get the things we work for.

2. Infinitive

Infinitives, like gerunds, are verb-looking words that act as nouns. They work as a subject, direct object, or subject complement of sentences. However, unlike gerunds, infinitives are formed by putting the preposition "to" right before the verb stem (e.g. to buy, to lie, to leave, etc.). 

  • To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance.
  • Because of you, I'm running out of reasons to cry.
  • The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
  • To prevent the floor from being felt, he made the couch twice as thick.

3. Participle

Participles create clearer picture of the state of being or situation by working as an adjective. Participles take the form of verbs in the present (-ing as suffix), past participle (have + verb ending in -ed) or passive-voice (be + past participle form) but they function as adjectives.

  • Melting glaciers and ice sheets have contributed more to rising sea levels in the past decade.
  • Situated half-way up the mountain, their home was luckily protected from mighty winds.
  • Taking a long breath, she put down her little bowl.
  • She was bounding happily about on the glowing mountains with many glistening roses blooming round her.

A thorough discussion of each type of verbals will be done in subsequent lessons.


  • English Plain and Simple by Jose A. Carillo (The Manila Times Publishing Corp., 2008)
  • Essentials of English, Sixth Edition by Vincent Hopper, Cedric Gale, Ronald Foote, and Benjamin W. Griffith (Barron's Educational Series Inc., 2010)

Designed by Neil Yamit