Every verb has five basic forms:

Verb Simple Present Simple Past Present Participle Past Participle  Infinitive
stop stop(s) stopped stopping stopped to stop
jump jump(s) jumped jumping jumped to jump
sing sing(s) sang singing sung to sing
swim swim(s) swam swimming swum to swim


A verbal is a verb form that looks like a verb, but functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb. There are three kinds of verbals: the infinitive (the base form), the participles (present and past form), and the gerund (the present participle form).


The infinitive is the “to” form of the verb. To read, to drink and to dance are examples. The infinitives function as a noun, adjective, or adverb. Look at these examples.

Infinitive as a noun
To sleep is one way to escape from life’s problems.
XXX(‘to sleep’ functions as a noun and is the subject of the sentence)

Infinitive as an adjective
XXLenny did not have the stamina to continue the race.
XXX (‘to continue’ is an adjective and modifies the noun stamina)

Infinitive as an adverb
People must eat to survive
XXX (‘to survive’ modifies the verb eat, it tells why we eat)


Past and present participles function as adjectives that describe nouns or pronouns.

The crying woman ran out of the church in tears.
XXX(the present participle ‘crying’ describes the noun woman)

The dilapidated house finally collapsed into a pile of rubble.
XXX(the past participle ‘dilapidated’ describes the noun house)


A present participle that functions as a noun is called a gerund. A gerund can be a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, an object of a preposition, or a subject complement in a sentence.

Gerund as a noun
Golfing has been Mr. Appleton’s passion since he was a teen.
XXX(Golfing is the subject of the sentence)

Gerund as an object
Mr. Appleton enjoys golfing much more than his wife.
XXX(golfing is the direct object of the verb enjoys)

Gerund as a complement
Mr. Appleton’s favorite pastime is golfing.
XXX(golfing is the subject complement)


For more information about infinitives,
participles and gerunds take a look at

The Basics of English Grammar


Other links for Verbals
XX Type of Verbals
XX Function of Verbals
XX Exercise: Identifying a Verbal in a Sentence

An explanation of the different verbals- infinitves, gerunds and participles and the function of a verbal–