A participle is just a infinitive verb + ing right?

A participle is also used as an adjective a lot of the time right? For ex:

"She looks at the rising sun". The present participle here is an adjective here right?

The participle can also be a noun right? For example:

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall".

So "failing" and "rising" seems like verbs to me. How can you help me see these words as nouns? I don't get why they are nouns.

  • I read those posts and I'm still unclear... sorry?
    – Jwan622
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 18:24
  • Try mentally inserting the before the word. 'Our glory is the rising' makes sense, where * 'America is glorious, the rising again' would not. Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


A present participle can be used as an adjective or adverb as you do in your "rising sun" example, along with other uses (such as in the progressive present aspect).

A gerund can be used as a noun. Your "falling and rising" example is not actually a participle, but a gerund. Note that unlike nouns we would use adverbs with them, not adjectives:

Slowly falling and quickly rising.

A verbal noun is also used with a noun, but more noun-like in being modified by adjectives, subject to pluralisation, etc:

The callous killings.

Now, in English the present participle, gerund and verbal noun all look the same, as they are all created by appending -ing to the root, but they are distinct forms with distinct uses.


But you used them as nouns yourself.

'Rising is our glory'. 'Rising' is the subject of the sentence.

just like

'I love eating'. 'Swimming is good exercise'. 'Training makes sense'.

Each of these are either subject or object of the main verb.

  • I see... you see I thought that "our greatest glory" was the subject here and that "falling" and "rising" were second verbs or something. Do secondary verbs exist?
    – Jwan622
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 18:25
  • They didn't use them as nouns, they used gerunds as nouns. They just happen to look the same in English.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 21:52

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