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Gerunds after adjectives and prepositions

What’s up everyone!

As we all know, English grammar can sometimes be tricky as it can seem like there is no logic behind the rules. In today’s post, we are going to focus on the use of gerunds in English after an adjective and a preposition.

Gerunds after prepositions

In english if we have a verb coming straight after a preposition, we must always use the verb in gerund form. The good thing to know about this rule is that it has absolutely zero exceptions, making it one of the few in English.



  • He went crazy on hearing the news
  • I’m looking forward to going on holiday
  • I always dream about winning the lottery


As we can see in all of these examples, the verb in gerund form comes straight after the preposition. The structure is very easy.

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What happens if there is an adjective preceding the preposition?

In English there are many examples of gerunds being used after an adjective and a preposition structure.



  • He is famous for playing football
  • They are bored of doing nothing
  • They are proud of having worked hard
  • They are tired of working a lot


As can be seen from the examples, the structure is: adjective + preposition + gerund.


What are the most important factors to bear in mind?

When we use verbs in gerund form in English, it is absolutely paramount to remember that directly after any preposition, the verb will always be in gerund form. This is a crystal clear rule and will help you in your studies.

It is also important to remember that it is impossible to remember every eventuality at the beginning. It is important to learn the examples little by little. Do not put too much pressure on yourself as this will not do you any good and you will cause yourself more anxiety trying to memorize them.

If you would like more information on this topic, you can sign up for free to ABA English and check out unit 114.

Good luck!


Author Bio: This post was written by George, a teacher from ABA English. ABA English–the American & British Academy–is an online academy specializing in teaching English with a unique learning methodology based on the principles of natural learning methods. ABA English teaches you English through short films that take place in real-life situations with 144 free video classes. Go to ABA English and start improving your English with your free 144 video classes.


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5 Responses to Gerunds after adjectives and prepositions

  1. Robert Gomes July 6, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    For the sake of being concise, I’ll simply propose that “It’s about going to Mexico” and “It’s about to go to Mexico” are both correct.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 7, 2017 at 4:22 am #

      Hi Robert,

      Those are both grammatical sentences, but they mean entirely different things. We have a periphrasis in the “it’s about to go to Mexico” which forms a verbal idea while “it’s about going to Mexico” is a descriptor using a gerund (aka noun-like verb). Only ONE of these can be the answer to a question like, “What’s the book about?”

      1. “It’s about going to Mexico.” Perfectly fine!
      2. “It’s about to go to Mexico.” INCORRECT.

      Likewise, if the question were, “What’s that plane doing?”

      1. “It’s about going to Mexico.” Colloquially maybe okay, but on the TOEFL INCORRECT.
      2. “It’s about to go to Mexico.” Correct!

  2. HT February 26, 2019 at 8:49 am #

    The prepositions “but” and “except” are exceptions to the rule.

    I had no choice, but to enroll

    He made no changes, except to change colors..

    • David Recine
      David Recine February 27, 2019 at 5:26 am #

      Thanks for bringing up this important use of but/except. At a glance, this does look like an exception to the rule that that a verb must be a gerund when it appears after a preposition. However, those two sentences don’t actually break that rule. In our examples, “but” and “except” are not being used as prepositions. Instead, they are being used as conjunctions, words that join two clauses or join to grammatically similar words in a clause. In your first example, “but” is a conjunction that joins the verb phrases “had no choice” and “to enroll.” In your second example, “except” joins the verb phrases “made no changes” and “to change colors.”

  3. Entsar fayyad October 8, 2020 at 7:45 am #

    I like to learn English.

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