I want to figure out the situation of the gerund that should I use adjective or adverb to modify it?

I know about the gerund that can function as both noun and action. It acts like a noun.

My first question is when the gerund is single and not talking about thing just use as noun(subject ..etc..) that we use adjective or adverb?!

Example : (Regular)(exercising) enhance one's self-confidence.(A noun) OR (Regularly exercising)enhance one's self-confidence.(A thing)

My teacher told me the answer is the firs form. But why ? Could somebody tell me a bit more specifically about gerund? I couldn't sleep a few days by this confusing problem, If some one can help me and give me some example with some explaining, that I'll be very grateful!!

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    Your teacher is wrong. All three of "regular exercising enhances ...", "exercising regularly enhances ...", and "regularly exercising enhances ..." are grammatical. To figure out which one your teacher wants requires figuring out the rules your teacher thinks they obey. We probably can't help you with that. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 11:22
  • Sorry I made such a mistake ( my teacher told me the answer is the second ) sorry
    – Blod Mary
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 11:28
  • Rather than altering your question in comments, please edit it as well. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 11:30
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    This is way too complex a topic for the OP; they don't really understand enough to get anything out of an answer. If ever there was a OQ meant for ELL, this is it. As @Marius says, they need to fix their sentences and learn how to do the simple things before they start on the complicated ones. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


You need to fix your sentences.

Consider, for your first alternative:

  1. Regular exercising enhances one's self-confidence.

The "exercising" ing-form here is closer to a noun in meaning, thus you should use the adjective "regular." BTW, I refuse to use anymore the old classification in gerunds and participles (as does that grammar bible of Quirk et al, 1985), as I find it counterproductive.

Syntactically, "Regular exercising" is a noun phrase acting as a subject.

Now, for your other alternative:

  1. Enhance your self-confidence by exercising regularly.

  2. By exercising regularly, you can enhance your self-confidence.

The "exercising" ing-form in 2 and 3 is closer to a verb/action in meaning, thus you should use the adverb "regularly."

BTW, in 2 "enhance" is an imperative.

Also, syntactically "by exercising regularly" is an adverbial clause.

  • You really shouldn't use "you should" here; these choices are a matter of style and not grammar, so you should use a much weaker suggestion like "it is better to". Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 12:47

Regular exercising and regularly exercising are two different concepts. Regular exercising could easily be interpreted as "normal" exercising or "the regular kind" of exercising, rather than exercising on a regular basis. This would explain the teacher's approval of the second option but not the first, even though both are grammatically correct (if you add the "s" in "enhances" for both).

I realize this answer is a over a year too late. -Hayley

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    Welcome to ELU. Although your answer is correct please provide some sources to substantiate it. Have a look at the Help Center to find out about good answers.
    – Helmar
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 16:40

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