" Inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988". Is this sentence right? I'm confuse whether all -ing verbs in this sentence act as a gerund as a noun or a present participial as an adjective. Gerund as a noun needs a verb while present participle as an adjective needs a subject, right?

I hope someone could help me verify and explain that sentence above. Thank you.

  • 3
    I don't think it's a dangling participle followed by a gerund. I think it just has eliminated the Oxford comma. I think it's a list: inspiring, informing, and celebrating. It sounds like a slogan of some teachers organization founded in 1988.
    – user361733
    Sep 21, 2019 at 4:11
  • What is the context? In theory, either it's meant to describe the qualities of teachers, or it's meant to describe what somebody is doing with respect to teachers. In short, either the words are being used as adjectives or as verbs. But it's impossible to say without more than just the single sentence—especially because the first part of the sentence has been omitted. Sep 21, 2019 at 21:03
  • It's conversational deletion, a slogan, not a sentence, totally acceptable (from a language point of view) as such. The only query is whether the semantic mismatch between inspiring & informing and celebrating is over-incongruous. I'd say nicely quirky. The -ing forms are verbs on the CGEL lumping model (as they've got an object), at least largely verby (complete sentences would be needed to be more precise) on the ACGEL gradience model. Oct 25, 2019 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


I would say it's ambiguous. The problem is that we're not dealing with a full sentence, but rather with a fragment of one. Such fragments are common for slogans, bumper stickers, etc., but can't be used as context for assigning parts of speech because there are different ways of using it in a full sentence.

Example 1:

"We have a history of inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988."

Example 2:

"Our organization has been inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988."

The words would be considered gerunds in the first example, but present participles in the second.

  • 'We make a lot of our company's inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988' (clumsy nowadays) taxes the Quirk et al gradience model. And elsewhere, it forces the positing of a league-table of constituent tests. Oct 25, 2019 at 17:56

Inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988.

Sounds like a short form of:

We have been inspiring, informing and celebrating teachers since 1988.

So, no, none of the -ing verbs in this sentence is "a gerund as a noun" or "a present participial as an adjective"; they are simply lexical verbs in the present prefect progressive construction.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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