I need your expert skills to solve this confusion regarding the use of gerund and participles.

Here is the sentence Standing in the shallow end, he would practice his arm movements.

I want to know whether the introductory phrase is a gerund or a participle.

  • 3
    Probably it's a participle, because the clause is adverbial; it's equivalent to (While (he was)) standing in the shallow end, he .. The parenthesized elements may be deleted without changing meaning. May 10, 2016 at 19:13
  • In traditional grammar, it's called a participle phrase because it has the same function as an adjective in that it is seen as modifying "he". But that's nonsense; it's actually a participial clause, headed by the present participle "standing", in adjunct function. Clauses like this don't modify anything and hence are sometimes called supplementary adjuncts.
    – BillJ
    May 10, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    Like many adverbs, they modify the entire main clause. May 10, 2016 at 20:18
  • But it's not an adverb, it's a clause in adjunct function. Supplementary adjuncts don't modify anything. They are semantically related to what is called their anchor, or as some grammars call it a 'host'. In the OPs example, the anchor is the main clause.
    – BillJ
    May 11, 2016 at 12:21
  • A gerund is a noun. That's not a noun. It would be a noun in the sentence Standing in the shallow end and practicing your arm movements is a good way to learn to swim. Jun 11, 2016 at 15:40


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