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  1. #1
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    Default gerund or present participle?

    Critics worried that boys and girls learnig together would have bad consequences.

    Does the sentence mean that critics worried that boys and girls who leanrnd together would have bad consequences or that critics worried that that boys and girls learned together would have bad consequences

    I mean learning is a present participle (adjective) or gerund (noun)? How would you find the difference?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: gerund or present participle?

    Gerunds function as subjects or objects. Where does the phrase learning together sit in our example sentence, in a subject position or in an object position? If neither, does it modify a noun? If so, it functions adjectivally, as a participle:

    Ex: Critics worried that boys and girls learning together would have bad consequences.

    Note, what could happen if boys and girls were placed in the same class? Whatever could happen is what the critics are worried about.

    Does that help?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: gerund or present participle?

    thanks Casiopea.

    It was a part of a story about the 19 century, when coeducation was about to start.

    boys and girls learning together is the subject of the that clause. boys and grilrs can be the subjecto of the gerund learing in the meaning and also boys and girls is the noun modified by the participle learning. So we have to think about it by the sentence meaning, which is difficult. In that case, how would you understad the difference? Is the difference clear and important for native speakers? Can you distinguish them instantly?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: gerund or present participle?

    There are two options:

    1. Gerund
    Learning together is modified by the boys and girls, the marked punctuation of which ('), if added, would alter the meaning; i.e., the critics are not worried about this possessive relationship: their learning together; they're worried about two connected things: the people involved and the act, them learning together:

    Ex: boys and girls learning together would <gerund>


    2. Participle
    Learning together derives from a reduced relative clause:

    Ex: boys and girls who learn together would
    Ex: boys and girls learning together would

    The problem, learning together is secondary when it should be primary; i.e., function as a gerund.

    My choice, 1.

    Does that help?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: gerund or present participle?

    Note, you'll find that modern day speakers often replace possessive (pro)noun + gerund phrases like, say, their learning together (which is a modified phrase) with two constituents them learning together (a non-modified phrase). The reason being, speakers want to make clear that the ideas represented by those two constituents have and carry equal weight, and that isn't possible with modified phrases, even with participles. A participle modifies a noun. It's not the primary constituent. It doesn't have equal weight, which is why 2. above can't be (and isn't) the reading (i.e., 2. learning together is a participle that derives from a reduced relative who learn together).

    Does that help?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: gerund or present participle?

    Yes Yes Thank you very much for teahing me precisely

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