Unit 6.2

Gerunds vs Present Participles


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Introduction

The gerund is a verb that functions as a noun referring to an action, a process or a state.

The present participle is a form of a verb used as a verb in continuous tenses, an adverb or an adjective.

Form

We form gerunds and present participles in the same way: we add –ing to the base form of the verb.

Example

Gerund:

  • Building a tree house is very fun.
  • Dancing is my favorite activity.
  • Being happy is more important than appearing happy.
  • Her living in the shopping district makes it easier for us to see her.

Present participle:

  • I was slowly building the house.
  • A wonderful rainbow appeared behind the police station, leaving behind different colours.
  • This area is frightening.
  • Your dress is amazing. 

Use

We use gerunds as regular nouns. They are always singular, so they always take a singular verb.

We use present participles as regular adjectives or verbs.

Summary

The –ing form is commonly used to create both nouns and verbs. When used as a noun it is considered a gerund, whereas when used as a verb, adverb or adjective we refer to it as a present participle.

For example:
— “Waking up early can be hard.” = Waking up is a gerund and is used as a noun.
— “The sun was rising.” = Rising is a present participle and is used as a verb.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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