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In Latin and English grammar, the gerund is a non-finite verb form that can function as a noun. The English gerund ends in -ing (as in I enjoy playing basketball); the same verb form also serves as the English present participle (which has an adjectival or adverbial function), and as a pure verbal noun. The gerund is the form that names the action of the verb (for instance, playing is the action of “to play”). In some cases a noun ending in -ing sometimes serves as a gerund (as in I like building things, I like painting / I like painting pictures, and I like writing / I like writing novels), while at other times serving as a non-gerund indicating the product resulting from an action (as in I work in that building, That is a good painting, and Her writing is good). The latter case can often be distinguished by the presence of a determiner before the noun, such as that, a, or her in these examples.
The Latin gerund (gerundium) is a verb form which behaves similarly to a noun, although it can only appear in certain oblique cases. (It should not be confused with the Latin gerundive, which is similar in form, but has a passive, adjectival use.)
In relation to other languages, the term gerund may be applied to a form which has noun-like uses like the Latin and English gerunds, or in some cases to various other non-finite verb forms, such as adverbial participles.
Gerund comes from the Latin gerundium, which itself derives from the gerundive of the Latin verb gero, namely gerundus, meaning “(which is) to be carried out”.