The gerund in English is used as  subject of a sentence; when immediately after several prepositions such as on, for, of, by and others; after a number of verbs to convey a general meaning among which the commonest are love, like, hate, don’t mind, would mind,  prefer, enjoy, can’t stand, can’t help and several others; the gerund is also used in compund nouns such as cooking board (a board for cooking). Here is a table with the most frequent uses of the gerund in English:

Main uses of the gerund Rule Examples
As subject of a sentence the gerund is used when the action is considered in a general sense Swimming is better than dancing for your body and your health

Discovering that you enjoy a good reputation among your friends is the best thing you can long for


After a preposition any preposition can be followed by the gerund We’re looking forward to seeing you soon

He’ s thinking of giving up smoking

I’m very sorry for keeping you waiting for so long

After certain verbs love, like, hate, don’t mind, would mind, enjoy, prefer, can’t stand, can’t help and several others Would you mind helping him with his homework?

I can’t stand people watching in the immediate aftermath of a car accident.

In compound nouns the function of the gerund is to specify what something is for My brother wants to get the driving licence as soon as he’s 18.

When he goes diving he’s always supported by the staff of qualified diving centres