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Thread: Part of speech

  1. #11
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Part of speech

    The only function of a present participle is adjectival?

  2. #12
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Nobody said "time rode horses".

    Actually, your answer directly implied it!

    When a participle/participial phrase is said to modify a noun, that is tantamount to asserting that that noun is the implied subject of the verbal aspect/force of that participle. ( I use the term 'subject' advisedly: see below)

    Thus, for example, in

    The boy playing tennis is Sam.

    'boy' is at once both the object of modification of the participle 'playing (tennis)' and the implied subject of the action that it denotes (i.e. = 'who IS PLAYING tennis').
    You simply cannot have the one without the other!

    Thus if you assert, as you did, that a participle (riding) is modifying a noun (time), you must accept that it is also its implied subject, leading to the nonsensical entailment that 'time rides horses'.

    As a matter of fact, neither gerunds nor participles have subjects because they are verbals, not verbs.

    Many would take issue with that rather sweeping statement!

    In the strictest, narrowest application of the term 'subject', it is so. However, I use the term here, as do many grammarians, in its wider sense as the (possibly merely implicit) "performer" of the state/action denoted by the verbal element, so that we may for instance speak of 'you' as being the (implied) subject of the infinitive 'walk' in

    I knew that it was hard for you to walk away.

    simply as a kind of convenient shorthand for the common sense assertion that it is 'you' (the prepositional object in the surface structure), and not the sentence subject 'I' or some other person, who actually performed the act of walking.

    Of course, some may prefer the term 'agent' where a participle or other nonfinite verb form is concerned, but that is clearly an even less satisfactory option, since it can be applied only where the verbal element is active.

    The simple fact is that we do not actually possess any completely satisfactory general-use term to express this implicit 'doer' role with regard to nonfinite forms, and are thus reduced to appropriating the closest available analog, to wit 'subject'.

    As for your implication that a verb is not a verbal, I think you'll find that you are on equally shaky ground. A (finite) verb is, by definition, a sub-class of verbal, since the term 'verbal' means 'any form functioning like/as a verb' (which, I think you'll grant, finite verbs do!)

    Of course, for the sake of referential convenience, you or anybody may elect to make a restrictive use of the term to actively exclude finite verbs (just as some authorities find it convenient to draw a distinction between 'adverb' and 'adverbial'), but it is your choice so to do, not something innately predetermined by the basic meanings of the words themselves!
    Sorry, but I don't agree with your analysis at all. In my view "riding horses" is an adjectival participial phrase which modifies and explains the noun "time". "Time" is the subject of the sentence, not some mysterious phrase. When you added the supposedly absent preposition, all you did was change the adjectival participial phrase into an adjectival prepositional phrase. And that still modifies the noun "time". A lot of theory to end up with the same result.

  3. #13
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The only function of a present participle is adjectival?
    Hopefully not!

  4. #14
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    "Time" is the subject of the sentence, not some mysterious phrase.
    Let me ask you a question, Mike from New York: if someone claiming to be a Wimbledon umpire let slip that (s)he didn't actually know the difference between a serve and a volley, you wouldn't be very impressed, would you?

    Well, by indicating that you are unable to correctly identify the subject of a sentence when you see one, you have just committed a faux pas of similar magnitude!

    The subject, for your information and edification, of the sentence

    Is this your first time riding a horse?

    is the pronoun 'this': 'time' here is what we grammarians call a complement!

    I hope you'll therefore understand why I do not intend to waste any further time debating with you, and would strongly urge you to refrain from attempting to give any further advice on this forum about grammar, a subject about which you evidently know nothing whatever!

  5. #15
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The only function of a present participle is adjectival?
    Not in the least!

    Participles, as their name implies, 'participate' in a number of different form-classes: they possess a combination of adjectival and verbal powers, and thus can both modify (in the manner of an adjective) and have agents/subjects (in the manner of a verb).

    Gerunds, on the other hand, combine nominal with verbal powers.
    Last edited by philo2009; 29-Jun-2013 at 02:44.

  6. #16
    tzfujimino's Avatar
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    Re: Part of speech

    Hello.

    Thank you for the interesting discussion.

    Well, I agree with Tdol that it is sometimes difficult to draw a clear distinction between a 'present participle' and a 'gerund', which I think is why they prefer to use the term '-ing form' to avoid making things so complicated.
    Philo2009's expert opinion is, of course, very interesting and informative.


    1. "I spend many hours studying English."

    Is the 'studying' in the above sentence a 'present participle' or a 'gerund'?
    In my opinion (I must admit I might be wrong because I'm not a grammarian), 'studying English' postmodifies the verb 'spend'.
    Thus, it functions adverbially, which means the 'studying' is a 'present participle'.

    However, in

    2. "I spend many hours in studying English."

    I doubt native speakers would use this construction, but the phrase 'studying English' is the object of the preposition 'in'.
    Therefore the 'studying' in #2 is a 'gerund'.

    I personally don't care too much about these things, but out of curiosity, I'd like to ask philo2009 a question again.

    Is the 'studying' in #1 a 'gerund' or a 'present participle'?

    Thank you.

  7. #17
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Let me ask you a question, Mike from New York: if someone claiming to be a Wimbledon umpire let slip that (s)he didn't actually know the difference between a serve and a volley, you wouldn't be very impressed, would you?

    Well, by indicating that you are unable to correctly identify the subject of a sentence when you see one, you have just committed a faux pas of similar magnitude!

    The subject, for your information and edification, of the sentence

    Is this your first time riding a horse?

    is the pronoun 'this': 'time' here is what we grammarians call a complement!

    I hope you'll therefore understand why I do not intend to waste any further time debating with you, and would strongly urge you to refrain from attempting to give any further advice on this forum about grammar, a subject about which you evidently know nothing whatever!
    My, my! Somebody is very cranky this morning.

  8. #18
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    My, my! Somebody is very cranky this morning.
    Cranky he may be, but he at least knows the difference between a serve and a volley...

    Having fully answered the original question, I have no further contribution to make to this thread.

    I trust that, in the meantime, you will take the opportunity to open a grammar primer and familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of at least a few basic terms!

    EOC

  9. #19
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Hello.

    Thank you for the interesting discussion.

    Well, I agree with Tdol that it is sometimes difficult to draw a clear distinction between a 'present participle' and a 'gerund', which I think is why they prefer to use the term '-ing form' to avoid making things so complicated.
    Philo2009's expert opinion is, of course, very interesting and informative.


    1. "I spend many hours studying English."

    Is the 'studying' in the above sentence a 'present participle' or a 'gerund'?
    In my opinion (I must admit I might be wrong because I'm not a grammarian), 'studying English' postmodifies the verb 'spend'.
    Thus, it functions adverbially, which means the 'studying' is a 'present participle'.

    However, in

    2. "I spend many hours in studying English."

    I doubt native speakers would use this construction, but the phrase 'studying English' is the object of the preposition 'in'.
    Therefore the 'studying' in #2 is a 'gerund'.

    I personally don't care too much about these things, but out of curiosity, I'd like to ask philo2009 a question again.

    Is the 'studying' in #1 a 'gerund' or a 'present participle'?

    Thank you.
    Both gerunds.

    The apparent unnaturalness of an ellipted preposition is rarely grounds to dismiss it out of hand. (Cf. e.g. on next Tuesday​, the - now - most unnatural-sounding ancestor of contemporary time adverbial 'next Tuesday'.)

    I would be more than happy, if called on, to give you or anybody a basic tutorial in how to distinguish between gerunds and participles in another thread. My contribution to this one, however, is now over!

    EOC

  10. #20
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    Re: Part of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Cranky he may be, but he at least knows the difference between a serve and a volley...

    Having fully answered the original question, I have no further contribution to make to this thread.

    I trust that, in the meantime, you will take the opportunity to open a grammar primer and familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of at least a few basic terms!

    EOC
    And you should as well. You see gerunds having subjects. You see prepositions where there are no prepositions. It is interesting grammar, but it is not English grammar.

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