What is a Verbal Noun? Definition and Examples with Quiz

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Verbal Nouns

Verbal Noun: What do you think of verbal nouns as an English grammatical terminology in general? Does it have something to do with verbs or spoken (verbal) English? To answer this, a verbal noun is infamous for blurring the lines between a noun and a verb. It is derived from a verb, usually in the form of continuous tense (-ing) to become a noun. But, there is more to these nouns than what meets your eyes. So, let’s hop on and read this blog to know how the verbal noun works through the lens of rules examples and quizzes. 

What is a Verbal Noun?

If you go by the books in English grammar, a verbal noun is derived from a verb and functions as a noun within a sentence. Usually, its formation contains the suffix ‘-ing’ to the base form of a verb. So that, it can retain the characteristics of both verbs and nouns that is, being a subject, object, or even possessor.

Verbal noun examples

Must Read: Nouns: Examples, Definition, Types

Types of Verbal Nouns

You must not forget that the verbal noun exists in three main forms:

  • Gerund: It ends in ‘-ing’ and acts as a noun while preserving some verb-like qualities. For example, Running is a good exercise. 
  • Infinitive: This is introduced by ‘to’ and expresses purpose or potential. For example, She wants to learn a new language. 
  • Verb Participle: As a verb participle, it acts like an adjective while retaining verb-like characteristics. For instance, She avoided talking about it. 

Quick Read: What is the Difference Between Nouns and Pronouns?

10 Verbal Noun Examples in Sentences

Here are some more examples of verbal nouns in sentences you should go through and observe their usage within different sentence frames. 

  1. Swimming is her favourite activity. 
  2. He enjoys reading books in his spare time. 
  3. Walking in the park is a peaceful activity.
  4. She is good at singing.
  5. Running every morning keeps him healthy. 
  6. Cooking dinner together is a great way for families to bond.
  7. I’m interested in learning new languages.
  8. His constant complaining about the weather is getting annoying.
  9. Swimming in the ocean is one of my favourite summer activities.
  10. She dreams of travelling the world and experiencing different cultures.

Quick Read: Examples of Abstract Nouns in Sentences

Verbal Noun vs. Gerund

By now, you know that both verbals and gerunds share a connection to verbs, carrying some of their action-oriented essences while functioning as nouns. But here onwards, you will note how the lines between the two diverge:

CriteriaVerbal NounGerund
DefinitionIt encompasses several types, including infinitives, gerunds, and present participles used as nouns. They fully embrace their noun identity, losing most verb-like qualities.These specific verbals always end in “-ing” and possess a unique dual nature. They retain some verbal properties, like taking objects and modifiers, but primarily function as nouns.
ExampleTo travel is my dream (Infinitive)Travelling broadens your perspective.
ArticlesDo not require articles (a, an, and the)Requires articles (a, an, and the)
PrepositionsFollows prepositionsThey can act as objects of prepositions themselves (Example – She looked forward to the meeting)

Quick Read: Countable and Uncountable Nouns

How to Form Verbal Nouns?

All three forms of verbal nouns follow different sets of rules to play their grammatically correct role within a sentence. Let’s check them one by one for better understanding.

Rules of Gerund

1️⃣ Add ‘-ing’ to the verb base
Example: Run – Running, Dance – Dancing

2️⃣ Always add an article (a/an/the) when using as a noun
Example: The winning team celebrated. 

3️⃣ Can also take objects and modifiers like verbs
Example: Enjoying a good book with friends

Rules of Infinitive Nouns

1️⃣ Two forms: ‘to + base verb (v)’ and ‘to be + present participle
Example: To sing, to be singing 

2️⃣ Usually not preceded by articles but can be in specific contexts
Example: The to be or not to be is the question

3️⃣ Often express purpose or potential 
Example: He came here to study

Rules  of Present Participle

1️⃣ Formed by adding “-ing” to the present tense verb
Example: work -> working, cook -> cooking

2️⃣ Function as adjectives modifying nouns or pronouns
Example: The bubbling spring looked inviting.

3️⃣ Can sometimes take objects and modifiers. 
Example: Carrying a heavy load, she climbed the hill.

Must Read: 8 Types of Nouns You Must Know

Verbal Noun Exercise for Practice 

Test your knowledge of the verbal noun with the following practice exercise. 

Instructions: Identify the verbal noun in each sentence. If it’s not a verbal noun, choose “None.”

  1. She enjoys hiking in the mountains.
  2. I’m eager to learn a new language.
  3. The talking dog amazed the audience. 
  4. Her painting skills are truly impressive.
  5. He apologized for his rude behaviour. 
  6. Winning the competition was her ultimate goal.
  7. He finished reading the book before dinner.
  8. To travel the world is his lifelong dream.
  9. The aroma of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen, creating a cosy feeling. 
  10. She practised diligently, leading to her eventual success. 

Answer Key:

  1. Hiking (Gerund)
  2. To learn (Infinitive)
  3. Talking (Present participle)
  4. Painting (Gerund)
  5. Rude (Adjective)
  6. Winning (Gerund)
  7. Reading (Gerund)
  8. To travel (Infinitive)
  9. Feeling (Noun)
  10. Success (Noun)

Find more interesting reads on nouns here!

What are Singular Nouns?Plural Nouns
What are Material Nouns?Compound Nouns
Countable and Uncountable NounsWhat are Possessive Nouns?

This was all about the verbal nouns and their functioning within the realm of grammar. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs.

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