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  1. #1
    hyang is offline Newbie
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    Default Present Participle - Participial Adjective or Gerund


    I am trying to determine how these present participles are being used.
    Please confirm or correct my ‘best guesses’. Thank you.


    1) It looks exciting. - adjective

    2) I like you rubbing my tummy. - gerund

    3) You have been rubbing my tummy. - present participle

    4) We saw him swimming. - present participle

    5) Swimming quickly he soon left our view - adjective

    6) She is wearing a scarf. - present participle

    7) He is standing by himself. - present participle

    8) He is over there standing all alone. - adjective

    9) He wasn’t standing over there yesterday. - present participle

    10) He was just sort of standing there. - present participle

    11) He may have been standing for a while - present participle

    12) I saw him standing over there. - present participle

    13) I couldn’t understand why he was standing alone. - gerund

    14) Standing on the bridge he looked down at me - adjective

    15) At least he seemed to be standing alone. - gerund


  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Present Participle - Participial Adjective or Gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by hyang View Post
    I am trying to determine how these present participles are being used.
    Please confirm or correct my ‘best guesses’. Thank you.


    1) It looks exciting. - adjective

    2) I like you rubbing my tummy. - gerund

    3) You have been rubbing my tummy. - present participle

    4) We saw him swimming. - present participle

    5) Swimming quickly he soon left our view - adjective

    6) She is wearing a scarf. - present participle

    7) He is standing by himself. - present participle

    8) He is over there standing all alone. - adjective

    9) He wasn’t standing over there yesterday. - present participle

    10) He was just sort of standing there. - present participle

    11) He may have been standing for a while - present participle

    12) I saw him standing over there. - present participle

    13) I couldn’t understand why he was standing alone. - gerund

    14) Standing on the bridge he looked down at me - adjective

    15) At least he seemed to be standing alone. - gerund
    This looks like homework. We don't do that.

  3. #3
    hyang is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Present Participle - Participial Adjective or Gerund

    Thank you for your prompt response.
    I can appreciate that it may look like homework. It is not.

    I am trying to get my 'head around" present participles and would like some help with these examples.
    They are all my own construction.

    Thank you.

    P.S. What I am really trying to find is a succinct method to determine what role the present participial is taking in various sentences. I’ve amassed 30 pages of information from the net in the last 3 days & am still at odds.
    Last edited by hyang; 27-Mar-2013 at 09:49. Reason: Added P.S....

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Present Participle - Participial Adjective or Gerund

    Welcome to the forum, hyang.

    I think you are worrying too much about labelling. Does it really matter what you call the -ing form?

    However, if you really want to label, then don't make the mistake of thinking that present participles can be used as gerunds. The -ingform can function as a gerund or as a present participle. A present participle has adjective-like qualities, so there is no normally no point in trying to differentiate between a present participle and an adjective, except possibly when it is used attributively: He bought a statute of a standing figure.

    The -ing form in a progressive verb is the present participle; that takes care of 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15

    In 1, 2* 4, 5, 12, and 14, the -ing form is acting rather like an adjective; it is therefore a present participle

    The -ing form appears to be functioning adjectivally in 8 and 10, but it's just about possible to consider it as part of a progressive verb form It doesn't really matter - in either case 'present participle' is the label.


    *2) I like you rubbing my tummy.

    This type of -ing form has divided writers on grammar for over a century. In Rubbing a cat's tummy is therapeutic for both you and the cat, there is no doubt that 'rubbing' functions as both a noun (it is the subject of the verb 'is') and a verb (it has as a direct object the noun phrase 'a cat's tummy'. This type of verb-noun is generally called a gerund. We also have a gerund in I like rubbing a cat's tummy.

    However, sentence 2 is not so straightforward.

    Some people feel that 'rubbing' is the direct object of the verb 'like'. Consequently, it is noun-like and is a gerund. These people usually claim that 'you' is incorrect - it must be 'your'.

    Some claim that 'you' is the direct object of 'like', and is therefore correct; 'rubbing' is adjective-like, and is a participle.

    Some claim that both interpretations are possible.

    Yet another group feels that 'you' is correct but that 'standing' is a gerund.

    As I asked at the beginning, "Does it really matter what you call the -ing form?"

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