participial phrases vs. gerunds

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In this sentence:

"I think life existing on planets other than Earth is impossible following three reasons."

What is the function of "existing"? I'm caught between a participial phrase and a gerund, though I'm tending toward a participial phrase, but I understand that participial phrases require commas before and after. If so, is there also a punctuation error?

Another similar example:

"This idea about people existing in space is absurd."
 
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5jj

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TheParser

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***** NOT A TEACHER *****


Hello,


I believe that you are correct: it is a participial phrase.

Tom: This idea about people is absurd.

Mona: Excuse me, Tom. What idea about people?

Tom: Oh, I'm sorry. I am referring to the idea that people are existing in space.

Mona: I agree. [The idea of] people existing in space is nonsense.


*****

We are taught that a gerund is used as a noun. "Existing" in your sentence surely cannot be said to be used

as a noun. It "obviously" describes "people." So it is a participle. That is, an -ing word being used as an adjective.


James
 
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