2

This question already has an answer here:

What is the difference between a gerund and present participle? When should we use a gerund and when should we use a present participle ?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Dec 29 '15 at 19:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Gerund is used as a noun. Participle isn't. – sooeithdk Dec 29 '15 at 17:41
6

The distinction between a participle and a gerund is troublesome. It looks as if the difference is to do with parts of speech or something similar. In fact, the real distinction has to do with the grammatical relations (syntactic functions).

In traditional grammar, a gerund is an -ing form of a verb that heads a phrase functioning as a:

  • Subject of a clause
  • Object of a verb
  • Complement of a preposition

In all other situations, an -ing form of the verb is considered a participle. Phrases headed by participles are often modifiers in clause or phrase structure.

Some modern grammars such as the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002) regard the distinction between gerunds and participles as unhelpful, because it blurs the line between what type of word the -ing form is and what job it is doing in the sentence. They use the term gerund-participle to refer to the type of word regardless of what job the phrase is doing in the larger sentence.

  • Sorry; downvoting. Duplicate x n. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 29 '15 at 18:59
  • 1
    2002 doesn't sound very modern. Happy new year!!! – user140086 Dec 29 '15 at 19:06
  • 1
    Yes, except that an -ing form derived from a verb can also be a derived noun -- neither gerund nor participle. "The rising of the moon." – Greg Lee Dec 29 '15 at 19:14
  • 1
    Gerund-participle is a bad term. Progressive-participle would be better (even when applied to the noun form). – AmI Dec 29 '15 at 19:24
  • 1
    @BillJ, yes, I agree that "rising" in "the rising of the moon" is a noun. It's not a gerund or a participle, because those are both verbs, not nouns. Aside from the presence of "the", we can also look at whether a modifier would be an adjective (if "rising" is a noun) or an adverb (if "rising" is a gerund or participle). Compare "the rapid rising of the moon", "the rapidly rising moon", "the moon's rapid(ly) rising (surprised us)". – Greg Lee Dec 29 '15 at 19:51
1

There is no difference. English only has -ing words. These are a completely regular inflectional form of the verb. And there is just one of these, not two.

"Gerunds" and "present participles" are meaninglesss relics from Latin grammar that do not apply to English.

No morphological distinction exists, and therefore they are the same word. It is not possible to use one instead of the other, nor vice versa, because these are not two different forms.

Therefore the answer to your question is that it does not matter. You cannot go wrong.

  • 'No morphological distinction exists, and therefore they are the same word.' is one opinion. There are authorities that consider intercategorial polysemes to be actually homonyms. And there are at least three schools of interpretation of the status of words between the noun and the verb ends of the N-V ing-gradience-or-is-it. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 29 '15 at 18:53
  • 2
    This answer is nonsense. – Greg Lee Dec 29 '15 at 19:16
  • This is hardly comprehensive .sorrry. – jahngir Dec 29 '15 at 19:27
  • 1
    @jahngir As has been pointed out to you, in today's grammar there is no distinction to be made. – BillJ Dec 29 '15 at 19:36
  • 1
    This answer is not nonsense. It merely notes that 'gerund' is a property not of the word, but of the use of the word. Since any event can be referenced as a noun phrase, and the linkage point of any event is its verb, any verb can be a subject noun. I personally prefer to reserve the term gerund only if the -ing word is a true topic (not part of a list); where it functions much like the infinitive (with nuance of progress versus habit). – AmI Dec 29 '15 at 19:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.