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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Smile Analysis of phrase

    Dear teacher,

    Before frying the steak, I heat the pan.

    "frying the steak" at the above is thought of as gerund or participial phrase?

    only noun can follow preposition, so it should be treated as gerund.

    however, some english textbooks say it is participial phrase, so it is contradictive, because only noun can follow preposition.

    has it been a controversy ?

    heartfelt thanks.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Analysis of phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by kl004535 View Post
    Dear teacher,

    Before frying the steak, I heat the pan.

    "frying the steak" at the above is thought of as gerund or participial phrase?

    only noun can follow preposition, so it should be treated as gerund.

    however, some english textbooks say it is participial phrase, so it is contradictive, because only noun can follow preposition.

    has it been a controversy ?

    heartfelt thanks.
    In your sentence "before" is an adverb.

  3. Soup's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: Analysis of phrase

    From Swan's Practical English Usage:

    -ing forms after prepositions can be often considered as either participles or gerunds, the dividing line is not clear (page 384).


    See also the discussion here.


    • Join Date: Mar 2009
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    #4

    Re: Analysis of phrase

    Yes, "frying the steak" is a gerund phrase. A preposition can be followed by a noun [a book OF poems], a gerund [she's talking ABOUT quitting], or a HOW or WH- phrase [the cops asked about HOW the fight started] [I was surprised AT what she said].


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    #5

    Re: Analysis of phrase

    'before' is a subordinating conjunction, an adverb that acts like a conjunction, which, together with the gerund-clause that it introduces, functions as another adverb. The non-finite clause is not a participle. Participles cannot fill nominal slots in a sentence. Only gerunds and infinitives can.

    Before frying the steak, I heat the pan.
    'before' is attached to 'frying'; 'before frying the pan' is attached to 'heat'.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Analysis of phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    'before' is a subordinating conjunction, an adverb that acts like a conjunction, which, together with the gerund-clause that it introduces, functions as another adverb. The non-finite clause is not a participle. Participles cannot fill nominal slots in a sentence. Only gerunds and infinitives can.

    Before frying the steak, I heat the pan.
    'before' is attached to 'frying'; 'before frying the pan' is attached to 'heat'.
    But that's begging the question. Obviously if you call this a "nominal slot" then it must be filled by a gerund. But why does it have to be a "nominal slot"?
    Couldn't I prove that it has to be a participle by claiming that "gerunds cannot fill a 'verbal slot' in a sentence?

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