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    #1

    Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Hi, teachers.

    Please read the following sentence. Is "being" a gerund or a present participle? Thank you.

    Presumably four million seals could not compete with commercial fisherman for the same species without the fact being known.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    The -ing form of a verb used after a noun must be a present participle. That's what MikeNewYork told me before.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    As Quirk et al point out (A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1985.1290-92), there is a gradience from deverbal nouns via verbal nouns/gerunds to present participles. They choose not to make the distinction between gerunds and present participles. Huddleston and Pullum (The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language,2002) take a different approach to Quirk et al on many points of grammar, but they also (pp 82-83) see no point in making the distinction.

    I think this is a wise decision - I see little benefit from arguing the distinction.

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Speaking as a learner, making the distinction can sometimes help me better understand grammar and constructions.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Whatever helps you personally as a learner is fine.

    However, some teachers and course books seem to think it important that their learners identify the two forms. As leading grammarians do not always agree on whether a particular -ing form is functioning as a participle or a gerund, I don't see why learners should have to do this, especially as probably fewer than 5% of native speakers could do it.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post

    I think this is a wise decision - I see little benefit from arguing the distinction.
    As you already know, I disagree with this. This is like a "grammarian" stating that there is no reason to differentiate a noun from a modifier. Absurd!

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    #7

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    I agree with Matthew's take on this. Learning parts of speech is important.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    This is like a "grammarian" stating that there is no reason to differentiate a noun from a modifier. Absurd!
    Have you ever come across a grammarian staing that there is no reason to differentiate a noun from a modifier? That would be like a "veterinarian" stating that there is no reason to differentiate a a bronchodilator from a brochoscopy. Absurd!

  8. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    When you say that there is no reason to differentiate a gerund from a participle, that is what you are saying. And you know that.

  9. Piscean's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Gerund? or Present Participle?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    When you say that there is no reason to differentiate a gerund from a participle, that is what you are saying. And you know that.
    Of course I know it. I wouldn't say it otherwise. What point are you trying to make?

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