In this sentence:
"I think life existing on planets other than Earth is impossible following three reasons."
What is the function of "existing"? I'm caught between a participial phrase and a gerund, though I'm tending toward a participial phrase, but I understand that participial phrases require commas before and after. If so, is there also a punctuation error?
Another similar example:
"This idea about people existing in space is absurd."
Last edited by sarahmacalalad; 09-Nov-2012 at 08:34.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
I believe that you are correct: it is a participial phrase.
Tom: This idea about people is absurd.
Mona: Excuse me, Tom. What idea about people?
Tom: Oh, I'm sorry. I am referring to the idea that people are existing in space.
Mona: I agree. [The idea of] people existing in space is nonsense.
We are taught that a gerund is used as a noun. "Existing" in your sentence surely cannot be said to be used
as a noun. It "obviously" describes "people." So it is a participle. That is, an -ing word being used as an adjective.
Last edited by TheParser; 09-Nov-2012 at 10:58.