Sentence structure


I have the following complex sentence -


In order to analyze the elastica deformation theoretically, we first divide
the elastica into several elementary sub-domains depending on the contact condition between the elastica and the circular


I would like to know what part of speech the word depending is. Is it a verb? If it is, why does it get the -ing form? The sentence is not in the progressive. Or is it? Is it a noun? Is there any rule about when nouns get an -ing ending?


#verbs #nouns #sentencestructure #ing

asked Mar 12 '14 at 03:37 Oren Richard New member

1 answer


The word "depending" is a participle.  Active participles end in "-ing," and they are verbs, but instead of functioning as verbs, they're functioning as adjectives.  Another clue to participles is that they're missing some form of the helping verb "to be."  In the sentence that you provided, we can reconstruct the progressive verb by reinserting the helping verb ('are'), as in "...several elementary sub-domains are depending on the contact condition...."  Once the helping verb is removed, however, the progressive turns back into a participle.

"-ing" verbs that are used as nouns are called "gerunds," as in "Running in the Boston Marathon is one of my goals."  In this sentence, "running" is the subject, which means it is a noun.

Here's a rule of thumb.

Present progressive verbs end in "-ing," function as verbs," and have a form of "to be" as a helping verb.

Present progressing verbs ending in "-ing" but missing the helping verb and are functioning as adjectives are called participles.

Verbs ending in "-ing" that are functioning as nouns (e.g., subject, direct object) are called gerunds.

link comment answered Mar 18 '14 at 05:43 Dr. G Contributor

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