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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Mexico
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2012
    • Posts: 34
    #1

    The duckling surprises everyone by growing into a beautiful swan.

    I know that “by growing into a beautiful swan” is a prepositional phrase modifying “surprises”. At first I thought that “growing into a beautiful swan” was a gerund, but an English teacher from another site said that “growing” was a verb because you couldn’t substitute another noun in its place and because the duckling had to surprise everyone by DOING something. Is she correct? I thought that a verb ending in –ing always had to be combined with the “to be” verb in order to function as a verb.

  2. Junior Member
    Retired English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Sep 2013
    • Posts: 43
    #2

    Re: The duckling surprises everyone by growing into a beautiful swan.

    She was wrong.

    You could substitute "its development into".

    You are correct. "Growing into" is a gerund acting as the object of the preposition "by". Substitute "becoming" and it might seem simpler. "Swan" is the predicate nominative within that gerund phrase.

    Now, that's Reed-Kellogg.

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