A type of generalized higher derivation consisting of a collection of self-mappings of a ring associated with a monoid, and here called a D-structure, is studied. Such structures were previously used to define various kinds of ‘skew’ or ‘twisted’ monoid rings. We show how certain gradings by monoids define D-structures. The monoid ring defined by such a structure corresponding to a group-grading is the variant of the group ring introduced by Năstăsescu, while in the case of a cyclic group of order two, the form of the D-structure itself yields some gradability criteria of Bakhturin and Parmenter. A partial description is obtained of the D-structures associated with infinite cyclic monoids.