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Dozing in the sun at the beach after swimming, limbs exhausted, salt dring stiff in my hair.

Cutting up vegetables into neat pieces.

Flying into a city and at night seeing the lit gauze of its streets from the air.

Cycling on a balmy night when the streets are quiet.

Taking a bath when I'm a little drunk.

Stretching out my muscles, sitting in the floor.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Andrew Leach May 22 at 10:27

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

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All of the examples quoted are phrases. They are not complete sentences. It would be better if examples in complete sentences are provided to distinguish the differences.

In short, according to my understanding, a gerund functions more like a noun (e.g. as subject, object, etc.). For example, I love cycling on a balmy night when the streets are quiet.

A (present) participle can take up the function of a verb, or an adjective. If a participle takes up the function of a verb, it is common for it come with a subject in the complete sentence. For example, Stretching out my muscles, sitting in the floor, I feel so relaxed.

  • These are definitely incomplete sentences, that's how they are in the text I have, which has contributed to my confusion. Just to confirm-- all but 'cycling' are gerunds? or gerund phrases? – Anne May 22 at 5:47
  • The original text is in this follow up question, as you can see, the text is perfectly grammatical and the sentences are complete. Not your fault but the OP's. – Mari-Lou A May 22 at 8:10
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Thanks for Mari-Lou A's additional information on the original text.

"There are so many things in the world that I love. Dozing in the sun at the beach after swimming, limbs exhausted, salt drying stiff in my hair. Cutting up vegetables into neat, symmetrical pieces. ... Flying into a city at night and seeing the lit gauze of its streets from the air. ... Cycling on a balmy night when the streets are quiet. Taking a bath when I’m a little drunk... Stretching out my muscles, sitting on the floor with my nose to my knees..."

Judging from the original text, all these phrases are referring to the things that "I" love, i.e. functioning as nouns. They should be gerunds.

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