Student or Learner
Hi, Soemthing comfuses me and i need some help:
Acording to www.chompchomp.com a participle is a word formed from a verb (fx work) which can be used as an adjective ( The woking man) or a Noun (I hate working)
According to wikipedia "A participle is a form of a verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb phrase, and then plays a role similar to an adjective or adverb"
1. Is it correctly understood that a participle is not EQUAL to and adjective, noun or adverb, but can be USED IN PLACE OF an adjective, noun or adverb?
2. In the sentence " I love cooking" is it true that cooking takes the place of a noun (direct object) but is not a noun?
for "A Burning candle" Is burning the adjective describing the noun candle? And this is the present participle of the verb: burn.
Last edited by chr0710; 20-Aug-2016 at 15:30.
I am not a teacher.
Traditional grammar describes the core meaning of participle as a word formed from a verb base which functions as or like an adjective, leaving it open as to whether the word is actually a verb or an adjective. And the same grammar describes a gerund as a word derived from a verb base which functions as or like a noun, leaving it open as to whether the word in question is actually a verb or a noun. To make any sense of those somewhat vague definitions, it is important to establish how the word is functioning in the sentence, and then its word class (part of speech) normally becomes clear.
For example, in "The children laughed at the (very) funny/entertaining clown", the word "entertaining" is modifying the noun "clown", and it can be modified by the adverb "very", which can't modify verbs. "Entertaining" is just as much an adjective as "funny" is. And in "I witnessed the death/culling of the seals", the noun "culling" has the determiner "the", it is direct object of the verb "witnessed", and it has an of preposition phrase as complement, which verbs don't have". "Culling" is just as much a noun as "death" is.
So "entertaining" and "culling" in those examples are not just being 'used in place of' or 'equal to', an adjective and noun respectively; they are indisputedly an adjective and noun in their own right and hence must belong in those categories.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a word is functioning as a verb or a noun. In your example "I love cooking", the word "cooking" is strictly speaking ambiguous, but verb is the more salient interpretation (cf "I love to cook"). Noun interpretation, however, can be forced by adjectival premodification as in "occasional cooking".
One complication is that the position of the word in the phrase is not a foolproof guide to its word category (part of speech). In your example "a burning candle", the word "burning immediately precedes the noun "candle" where an adjective would typically occur (cf. "a white candle"), but "burning" is a verb, not an adjective since it can't be modified by the adverb "very" (you can't say *"the very burning candle"). It is best analysed as a verb premodifying a noun. And in "The candle is burning", though the word "burning" looks like an adjective, it is in fact a verb: it is part of the progressive aspect verb phrase "is burning".
With all that in mind, now see if you can decide in what category "working" belongs in your examples "the working man" and "I hate working".
Last edited by PaulMatthews; 21-Aug-2016 at 11:56.
Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. I really appreciate it! It seems confusing but makes better sense
I do have a couple of follow up questions for you and an answer to your homework assignment:
So I get your point that participles are sometimes adjectives and sometimes verbs depending on the situation:
In these situations below, they are all adjectives because very (adverb) can't modify verbs right?
A very nourishing meal
A very entertaining clown
A very confusing book on grammar.
So if you can put the adverb "very" in front of participle it's an adjective?
So for the examples you gave me:
The working man.
* man = noun
* working = participle: it looks like an adjective but must be a verb because you can't put very in front of it? Because you can always put very in front of an adjective.
I hate working
* hate = verb,
* Working: This one I find difficult: Working looks like a gerund (noun) but I could say "I hate working very much" and then it feels more like a verb phrase?
What about in these situations?
He is a hard-working man
He is a very hard-working man.
They must be adjectives in both situations?
So are these correct examples of Progressive aspect verb phrases (need to understand this more clearly)
* The food is cooking.
* The candle is burning.
* The man is swimming.
* The police are jumping.
* People are laughing.
Again Thank you so much for this!
Last edited by Rover_KE; 24-Aug-2016 at 08:13. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.
Last edited by PaulMatthews; 24-Aug-2016 at 10:44. Reason: typo
If you are obliged to distinguish between gerunds and participles as part of your course, then you have no choice but to do so. However, as I have mentioned in other threads, some modern grammarians see little point in this.
Quirk et al (1985.1292, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language) write: [...] we do not find it useful to distinguish a gerund from a participle, but terminologically class all the -ing items [apart from those they label 'verbal' and 'deverbal' nouns - Piscean] as PARTICIPLES.
Huddleston and Pullum (2002.82. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) write: [...] we reject an analysis that has gerund and present participle as different forms syncretised throughout the class of verbs. We have therefore just one inflectional form of the verb marked with the -ing suffix; we label it with the compound term 'gerund-participle for the verb-form.
Aarts (2011.12, Oxford Modern English Grammar) refers only to the -ing participle. The word 'gerund' is not used in the book.
Last edited by Piscean; 24-Aug-2016 at 11:03. Reason: Tidying format