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  1. #1
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    Default Gerund or Present Participle

    Hi, my name is Mary and I am new to this site.
    Can anyone help me please?
    I need to know as soon as possible in plain English how to tell the difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle.

    In theory I know that the Gerund is a noun acting as a verb but when it comes to actually deciding what the ...ing word is, when it is a sentence leaves me totally baffled.

    Help!!

  2. #2
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Quote Originally Posted by mary chipperfield View Post
    Hi, my name is Mary and I am new to this site.
    Can anyone help me please?
    I need to know as soon as possible in plain English how to tell the difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle.

    In theory I know that the Gerund is a noun acting as a verb but when it comes to actually deciding what the ...ing word is, when it is a sentence leaves me totally baffled.

    Help!!
    The distiction between gerund and present participle has been abandoned by some. They are often just called -ing forms because sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two.

    Since the gerund acts as a noun it can:
    1. be the object or the subject of a sentence: I like cycling

    2. follow prepositions: She insisted on staying here
    Here you have to be careful with preposition to. Sometimes it is a preposition and takes the gerund but sometimes it is part of the infinitive:
    I used to smoke
    I am used to smoking

    3. take the article
    4. be replaced by a noun

    The present participle is by contrast descriptive. It can:
    1. be used as an adjective: running water
    2. be used instead of relative pronouns I saw a man wearing a coat.
    3. come after certain verbs like see, spend: I spent an hour working.

    These two ing-forms are better understood in comparison with the infinitive:
    1. Infinitive vs. gerund (prospective vs. retrospective view). See my explanations on this matter elsewhere or the articles in the member area.

    With like:
    I like cycling (gerund implies enjoyment). The verb "enjoy" takes the gerund as well.
    I like to cycle. (infinitive: implies choices)
    I don't like going to the dentist (I go although I don't like)
    I don't like to go to the dentist. (I don't go)

    2. Infinitive vs. present participle
    I saw him repair the car. (bare infinitive: I saw the complete action)
    I saw him repairing the car. (present participle: not clear whether I saw a fraction of the action or all of it.)
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 21-Nov-2006 at 20:00.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    A small correction:
    It follows prepositions,
    it is not followed by prepositions.

  4. #4
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    A small correction:
    It follows prepositions,
    it is not followed by prepositions.
    Thanks I corrected it. Anyway the example given shows it comes after prepositions.

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Quote Originally Posted by mary chipperfield View Post
    Hi, my name is Mary and I am new to this site.
    Can anyone help me please?
    I need to know as soon as possible in plain English how to tell the difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle.

    In theory I know that the Gerund is a noun acting as a verb but when it comes to actually deciding what the ...ing word is, when it is a sentence leaves me totally baffled.

    Help!!
    The simple answer is:

    a gerund acts as a noun
    a present participle acts as part of a verb (progressive/continuous) or as a modifier (adjective/adverb)

    Look at the sentence and figure out what the word is doing. That will tell you what it is.
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 22-Nov-2006 at 23:37.

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Hi,

    many thanks all,

    Much appreciated,

    Mary

  7. #7
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    The simple answer is:

    a gerund acts as a noun
    a present participle acts as part of a verb (progressive/continuous) or as a modifier (adjective/adverb)

    Look at the sentence and figure out what the word is doing. That will tell you what it is.
    Sorry, but do seriously believe an answer like the one I am quoting can be of any help? Perhaps Ms Chipperfield can say something here.

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gerund or Present Participle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Sorry, but you do seriously believe an answer like the one I am quoting can be of any help? Perhaps Ms Chipperfield can say something here.
    Yes, I seriously believe it can be of some help. Otherwise, I wouldn't have posted it.

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