Is asking a participle or gerund in the sentence "Asking questions is easier than answering them. "

  • 2
    It doesn't matter. The important thing is that it is a verb. – BillJ Apr 21 '19 at 7:51
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    Right. Outside discussions of verb forms, "participle" is a very loose term that is applied to many distinct constructions. And you can tell these -ing forms are verbs because they have direct objects. – John Lawler Apr 21 '19 at 21:24
  • @John Lawler On that analysis, does it convert to a noun in the related form 'The asking of questions is ...'? – Edwin Ashworth May 21 '19 at 12:21
  • clearly a gerund. could those objecting to the terminology please provide some reference to reasons. – Toothrot May 21 '19 at 12:38

Simplify the statement to

Asking is easier than answering.

"Asking" must be the subject. So, between participle and gerund "asking" would be a gerund, as it serves as a noun.

Opinions vary as to correct terminology involving traditional verb forms. I would study what is available to get a proper understanding.

My opinion is that gerunds no longer exist. The class of words used as nouns that evolved from verbs are now just nouns. In living languages, usages change. "Asking" might be used today in ways it was not used 100 years ago.

There were three askings of the question.

The above might be acceptable today, perhaps not in the past.

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  • it is not clear whether your opinion is purely terminological. if not, please explain – Toothrot May 21 '19 at 12:37
  • Oh, gerunds still exist. But some words are clearly nouns and not gerunds. Many people simply use the word "gerund" for any word ending in -ing; others use "participle"; still others make some kind of distinction between them, but seldom the same one. – John Lawler May 21 '19 at 14:26
  • I was offering an opinion that "gerunds" such as they once were, were now more nouns than verbs. As there is no absolute authority in these matters, opinion does mean something. – J. Taylor May 21 '19 at 15:24

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