Continuous Tense or Gerund?

As noted in previous lessons, -ing verbs (present participles) can be tricky. This lesson will give you practice identifying the function of an -ing verb in a sentence.

Instructions for the Quiz

Identify the underlined words (or words). You have two choices:

Remember, a gerund is basically a noun, so what you're really being asked is whether the underlined word is acting like a noun (gerund) or a verb.

Here are some examples:

  1. Watching a movie is fun.
  • gerund
  • verb




Hopefully you recognized that "Watching a movie" is the subject of the sentence. The entire phrase is a acting like one big noun, and therefore the answer is A) gerund.

Now try this one:

  1. She is watching a movie.
  • gerund
  • verb




In the above example, "is watching" is acting like a verb. The fact that "watching" is preceded by a form of the verb "to be" is a big hint. In this case, "is watching" is the continuous tense of the verb "to watch".