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Which one do I pick here? Are both acceptable? I think asking is a present participle and no gerund.

marked as duplicate by Nathaniel, MetaEd, ab2, Mitch, jimm101 Mar 12 '16 at 0:13

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  • to ask me is correct – 123 Mar 7 '16 at 15:10
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    @MετάEd: I don't think that's quite the same question. It's asking about which choice (gerund or infinitive) should follow a verb, but here the thing under question is the verb (ask) itself. (Unless you consider "to be" the only verb in both sentences, which would be a, um, novel approach.) – Marthaª Mar 7 '16 at 22:21
  • Rule of thumb: in general, everyday usage, if you're trying to decide whether to use a continuous tense vs. a non-continuous tense, 99.9% of the time, the non-continuous tense is correct, and in the remaining .1% of the time, the non-continuous tense is probably also correct. But if you're asking a question like this, you might feel more welcome at the English Language Learners site. – Marthaª Mar 7 '16 at 22:25
  • @Marthaª I have to agree. It's a related question but not the same. – MetaEd Mar 7 '16 at 22:42
  • There's a textbook online that says always use an infinitive after "the first", "the last", and "the one". But this is simply not right. As you point out @Marthaª there are continuous and non-continuous cases. "You are the one worrying" vs. "you are the one to worry". And for a bit more fun, "you are the one eating" vs. "you are the one to eat"! – MetaEd Mar 7 '16 at 23:00

I would pick You are the first one to ask me if it's not continuous i.e. you are telling the persons while they have finished talking

I would pick You are the first one asking me if it's continuous. i.e. you are telling the persons while they are still talking

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    I think that this sums it up correctly and highlights the unlikelihood of you reply whilst someone was in the process of asking you the question. I've never heard, or read, anyone say "You are the first one asking me ". It's one of those phrases that just sounds "wrong" to a native speaker. – Dave M Mar 7 '16 at 16:46

The bare progressive participle ('the asking boy' or 'the boy, asking') is equivalent to the infinitive. It will match any form of the verb because any form of the verb implies that it was in progress at some point. It is neither a verb or a true gerund, and I don't know a term that covers it. It is also related to the bare perfect participle for matching passive verbs ('the asked boy' or 'the boy, asked').

  • There is no "bare progressive" participle. There are present participles and there are bare infinitives (those that drop the to: I like to watch him [to] play.) They are not equivalent. Would you like to go? is grammatical; Would you like going? is not. The present participle is a verb because it's an inflected form of a plain verb. When the present participle is used as a noun (Asking is good.), we call it a gerund; when it's used as a modifier, we call it a participial adjective. – deadrat Mar 17 '16 at 4:53
  • Thank you for the term 'participial adjective'. I still find it "gerundical"; equivalent in function to the infinitive. 'Would you like going' may not be encountered, but 'do you like going' is. Both are grammatical and have the function of matching all aspects of the verb 'go', just like the infinitive. – AmI Mar 18 '16 at 20:54
  • You're in good company. Huddleston and Pullum use the term gerund-participle. Both gerunds and infinitives have the same verb properties, but they're not equivalent. Gerunds can have quasi-prepositional usages: Owing to the weather, the trip was canceled. To owe the weather won't work. Infinitives can indicate purpose: We went to the lake to swim. Just swimming won't work, and for swimming really isn't idiomatic. Perhaps a better way to put it is that the two entities aren't interchangeable. – deadrat Mar 19 '16 at 4:57

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