Present participles include gerunds?


We have learned that the form of base ing can be used for present participles and gerunds but according to some definitions, base ing itself is called present participles and then, we should change a lot of things here.
Do you agree that gerunds are a part of present participles and they function as an adjective and a noun (gerund), etc?



In grammar, the present participle of a verb is the form which ends in `-ing'. Present participles are used to form continuous tenses, as in `She was wearing a neat blue suit'. They are often nouns, as in `I hate cooking' and`Cooking can be fun'. Many of them can be used like an adjective in front of a noun, as in `their smiling faces'.
                                                                                                                - Collins-




Gerund : a noun in the form of the present participle of a verb (that is, ending in -ing) for example travelling in the sentence I preferred travelling alone.                                                                                                                 - Oxford -

edited Nov 23 '12 at 13:05 Hans Contributor

2 answers


Different sources give slightly different definitions. Unfortunately, those different definitions overlap and sometimes slightly contradict each other. This can be confusing. Here is my own unofficial definition:


Gerund refers to the form of the word itself - base verb + ing -- and not the use of the word. Some definitions try to bring the use into the definition -- causing the confusion. A gerund (or gerund phrase) may function as a verb, an adjective, or a noun.


Present Participle refers to a verb tense.When a gerund-form word is used as a verb, it is in the present participle tense. The present participle tense always uses the gerund-form verb.


I hope this helps.

link answered Nov 23 '12 at 14:55 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

It is so confusing now, so can we say that there are some different thoughts on the labeling issue and we also can take them into account? Thank you so much.

HansNov 23 '12 at 15:04

Yes. I try to focus on the function and not the label. For instance, some textbooks say "restrictive relative clause" and others say "defining relative clause" -- they are the same thing no matter what label we use. Words ending with -ing are gerunds, and may also be past participles. Gerunds are used as nouns, adjectives, and past participle verbs.

Jeff PribylNov 23 '12 at 18:02

Thank you and you mean the present participle, not the past participle, right? Thank you so much again. English is really hard but that is why I like it : )

HansNov 24 '12 at 03:25

Yes, present participle. My fingers have a mind of their own when typing.

Jeff PribylNov 24 '12 at 04:43

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I think that present participle is different from gerund though their forms are alike.

A present partciple can functions as a head verb of a sentence

She was wearing a bluse suit.

It can function as an adjective.

Running water is pure. (Describing the noun 'water')

It can funtion as an adverb or adverb phrase.

He came running. (Describing the verb 'came')

Damaging the roof, a tree crashed down.

A gerund is a noun. It can be the subject of a sentence.

Collecting stamps is my hobby. 

It can be the object of a sentence.

I like reading books.

link comment answered Nov 25 '12 at 04:32 Z. A. Jazley Expert

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