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  1. #1
    sarahmacalalad is offline Newbie
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    Default participial phrases vs. gerunds

    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 07:34.

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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: participial phrases vs. gerunds

    Quote Originally Posted by sarahmacalalad View Post
    I understand that participial phrases require commas before and after.
    Where did you come across that idea?

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: participial phrases vs. gerunds

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,


    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.


    James
    Last edited by TheParser; 09-Nov-2012 at 09:58.

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