Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33
  1. #1
    gjo123 is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Why is it correct to use a past tense verb with a gerund? Example: Getting started is the important thing. "Getting started" is clearly the subject. What is this "tense," mood, etc. called?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    41,630
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    That's a past particple not a past tense.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,335
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Hi gjo,
    It's not a past tense, it's a Participle II in a participial construction.
    Rgs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,335
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Oh, sorry, I sent my answer before checking the thread again.

  5. #5
    gjo123 is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Many thanks to all who wrote to explain that in the title, Getting Started, the word started is a past participle and not a past tense. I am clueless. . .how do we know that to be the case?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,335
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Hi, gjo,
    how do we know that to be the case?
    That's not difficult. A verb has 4 forms:
    I (the 1st form) - a bare infinitive, eg bring, take
    II (the 2nd form) - the Past Simple, brought, took
    III (the 3rd form) - the Past Participle, brought, taken
    IV (the 4th form) -the Present Participle, bringing, taking
    The Past Simple (form II ) can only be a predicate:
    Mary brought some cheese. I took this sentence from his book.
    The Past Participle itself can't be a predicate , it is can either follow an auxiliary or a linking verb:
    The cheese was brought by Mary.
    That sentence was taken from his book.
    I didn't know Mary had brought some cheese.

    or be part of a participial clause
    The cheese brought by Mary is in the fridge.
    brought by Mary is a participial clause/phrase.
    The Past Participle is often used after such verbs as get, become, seem, remain etc:
    Let's get started.
    This expression has become overused, it's a cliche.
    The orphanages remain neglected.

    Hope it helps.
    Best wishes

  7. #7
    gjo123 is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Thank you, Humble, for such a detailed, thoughtful reply. However, I still have a problem.
    l. You stipulate that a past participle cannot be a predicate
    2. That it must follow either an auxiliary verb or a linking verb.
    Okay, in the title, "Getting Started" that I originally asked about, started neither follows an auxiliary verb nor a linking verb. It appears to me that "started" (used in this example) could still qualify for being the predicate in this case. I understand getting to be a gerund being used as the subject.
    Hope you can get me straightened out on this. Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,335
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Hi, gjo,
    Sorry, I disagree. I think in get started get is a linking verb.
    Getting started can be part of a predicate, eg
    We are getting started,
    the predicate being are getting started. Here getting is a Present Participle.
    In your original sentence, as you said, it is a subject- I mean these two words form the subject in the shape of a gerund.
    I wish some knowledgeable people joined in.
    Rgs

  9. #9
    gjo123 is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    60
    Post Thanks / Like

    Red face Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Humble, you are so kind to attempt a followup attempt at getting me to find and understand a solution to my question. I'm not sure we are on the same page, however. So, allow me to begin afresh. I saw a title on a video. The title was: "Getting Started" . . . If "started is not the predicate, how can I be sure? Started does not seem to meet the criteria you set forth.

  10. #10
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    11,852
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Gerund with a past tense in the Subject

    Quote Originally Posted by gjo123 View Post
    Humble, you are so kind to attempt a followup attempt at getting me to find and understand a solution to my question. I'm not sure we are on the same page, however. So, allow me to begin afresh. I saw a title on a video. The title was: "Getting Started" . . . If "started is not the predicate, how can I be sure? Started does not seem to meet the criteria you set forth.
    The problem here is the verb "get". It is not normally classified as a linking verb or an auxiliary verb, but it can act as an auxiliary/linking verb. There are those who consider this use to be informal or even incorrect, but it is very common.

    It is obvious that "getting started" is the subject of your original sentence. As such, it must be a noun phrase. The only way that could happen is if it is a gerund phrase (participles cannot be nouns). Gerunds, however, because they arose from verbs can only take adverbial modifiers and "started" is not an adverb in that use. So "get started" has to be seen as auxiliary/linking verb + past participle. Adding the -ing to get makes it a gerund in this use.

    You could replace "getting started" with "starting" in your sentence, and that would clearly be a gerund/noun.

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Is Yesterday a past time?
    By shun in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 13-Feb-2008, 18:54
  2. Past tense of "to dive"
    By Oliver909 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2007, 04:02
  3. the use of the past perfect tense
    By marko in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-May-2006, 21:03
  4. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 17-Jul-2005, 23:30
  5. Past tense
    By Amy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Nov-2004, 09:50

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk