Few people remember the concept of a gerund after they leave a high school language arts classroom, yet they use them nearly everyday. The word is simply the progressive form of a verb (-ing) being used as a noun.
“Waking up was really hard today,” a co-worker said without even realizing he had just used a gerund to introduce his statement. After work he might turn on the TV and wrestling, one of the most common gerunds in American English.
That same co-worker, on his drive home, might turn on his radio and hear songs that feature gerunds in their titles. Here is a list of fifteen such songs, any of which he might hear during his commute.
“Feelings” by Morris Albert: This slow 70s classic still serves as the anthem for broken hearts.
“The Waiting” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: This rocker served as the perfect introduction to Hard Promises, Petty’s follow up to the hugely successful Damn the Torpedoes .
“Beginnings” by Chicago: Vocalist Robert Lamm waits until the ending before mentioning this title gerund, but there are great love lines building it up to it: “When I’m with you it doesn’t matter where we are, or what we’re doing, I’m with and that’s all that matters” and “Time passes much too quickly when we’re together laughing.”
“Loving You” by Minnie Ripperton: The pop vocalist used her seductive, whisperish alto (and chirping birds) to propel this love ballad to the Top Ten in the early 70s, cooing “Loving you is easy because you’re beautiful.”
“Working for a Living” by Huey Lewis: In spite of the two “ing” words in this 80s pop classic, the first is a verb and the latter is the gerund serving as the object of the prepositional phrase.
“In My Time of Dying” by Led Zeppelin: The hard rock band’s version of this folk classic appears on Physical Graffiti, and stylistically resembles “When the Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin IV.
“Leaving Home Ain’t Easy” by Queen: Brian May wrote and did lead vocals on this poignant acoustic ballad from Jazz , which topped the charts because of “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Bicycle Race.”
“Seeing Is Believing” by Elvis Presley: The King used the progressive form of to see as a noun on this hit, thereby getting himself included on this list.
“Happy Ending” by the Strokes: This is one of the highlights from the indie band’s new album, Comedown Machine.
“The Meaning of Love” by Depeche Mode: The progressive form of “to mean” serves as the subject of this title track from the new wave band’s 1982 album.
“Second Coming” by Alice Cooper: The band’s third album, Love It to Death, featured “Eighteen,” “Ballad of Dwight Fry” and this underappreciated track that is nearly as good as anything in Alice’s impressive discography.
“Dreaming Is Free” by Blondie: Debbie Harry and her group scored another Top Ten single with this hit, featuring the gerund serving as the subject of the short (but true) sentence.
“King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West: The British pop group included this single on the soundtrack to Pretty Woman, which starred Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
“Misunderstanding” by Genesis:This catchy pop tune became the biggest hit for the group as a trio after the departure of Peter Gabriel.
“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka: The singer-songwriter hit the Top Ten twice with this gerund-based classic, originally as a bouncy number in the 60s and a decade later as a slow, soulful piano ballad.