Verbs: Verbals

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12568

When is a verb not exactly a verb? When it's a verbal. What is a verbal? It's a gerund. And a participle. And an infinitive. OK, enough confusion! Read on to understand how versatile verbs can be!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What is the first thing you see when you look at the photo above? Weird, huh? So are some verbs!

  • Did you see a vase or did you see two faces looking at each other?

Sometimes, things can fool us by giving the illusion of being something else. Sometimes, what we think of as being a verb can also be a different part of speech, such as a noun, participle, or infinitive. These are called "verbals."

Before moving on, if you missed or need to review any of the previous Related Lessons in our Verbs series, you can check them out in the right-hand sidebar.

A verbal is a word that you would usually think of as a verb, but it is being used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. There are three types of verbals you will study in this lesson:

  1. Gerund is a verb that ends in "–ing" and is used as a noun. For example, “Running is an exercise I enjoy.”
  2. A participle is a verb that ends in "–ing" or "–ed" and is used as an adjective. “The running player was tackled.”
  3. An infinitive is a verb that has the word “to” before it and can be used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
    • “The man paid to watch the movie.” (adverb to verb "paid")
    • "I like to eat." (direct object as a noun)
    • "Your talent to please others is an asset at times." (adjective to noun "talent")

Take out a piece of paper and pencil. As you watch the Mometrix Academy video, Gerund Infinitive, and Participle, write down notes that will help you identify the different verbals and how they are used in sentences:


Remember, the difference between gerunds and participles is how they are used in a sentence. A gerund is used as a noun and a participle is used as an adjective.

Continue to the Got It? section to practice identifying them in sentences.

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