In sentences like "but now it is running" or "but now it is standing" What are the words running/standing? I believe they're verbs/gerunds but I have some friends who think they are predicate adjectives.

What if I change the sentence to "but now it is bettering" . Is bettering an adjective here or still used as a verb?

  • 1
    The verb form to better is fairly uncommon, particularly as an intransitive usage. The full OED's most recent cite (I'm bettering = my health is improving) is 2010, but I think it sounds positively *Victiorian. In your cited context, running is called a (continuous) Present Participle, but that's not idiomatic for the altered version, which should be ...but now it's / it is getting better. Feb 26, 2020 at 15:13
  • Forget using better as a verb. It's so archaic nobody would know what its grammar should be. As for the POS of running in but now it is running depends on whether the speaker intended to characterize the watch as a running watch (predicate adjective), or to characterize the action of the watch as running now (present participle, part of the progressive construction -- not a gerund, btw). If you're the speaker, you know; if you're not, you get to guess. That's one reason why asking about Parts Of Speech in English is so useless. Feb 26, 2020 at 16:30


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