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Gerund vs Present Participle

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Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2011, 11:08
Whats the difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle? THey both have the "-ing" form. Any help woud be appreciated!!
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2011, 11:12
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I'm not a grammar expert, but here's an explanation online: http://www.englishforums.com/English/Ge ... r/post.htm

Also, remember, the GMAT will never tes you on the names or types of grammar. I'd say 99% of the people taking the GMAT don't know the different between a Gerund and a Present Participle. Buuuut, if this will help you with your studies, and help you get questions right, then by all means, learn about it!

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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2011, 15:28
Gerunds replaces a noun in a sentence while participle phrases are verbal phrases.

How do you form participle phrases:


Present participle phrase:
Take a progressive sentence and remove the subject and first element of the verb out of it: What is left is a participle phrase. The participle phrase can act as adverb or an adjective, depending upon whether you use it as non-restrictive modifier or a restrictive modifier.

For example:
Sentence: Cat is sitting on the desk. Cat was eating bread.

To create a participle phrase out of this, remove "Cat + is" and what you are left with is a participle phrase:
Sitting on the desk, Cat was eating bread.
Here the phrase acts as an adverb. It specifies "when and where".

Now if you have many cats sitting on the desk and you want to identify the unique cat, you can add the same participle phrase as an adjective to narrow down the cat.

Cat sitting on the desk was eating bread.
In this sentence the participle phrase acts as an adjective. It narrows down 'which cat'.


To be continued.............
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2011, 15:54
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Past participles are formed out of passive sentences, but they too can act as adverb or adjective, i.e. the same as present participles.

Here you have two sentences:
Soldier killed the intruders. Intruders had guns.

Turn the first sentence into passive: Soldier killed the intruders into :- Intruders were killed by the soldier.

Now remove the subject and the form of "be". The verb "be" has 8 forms: is, am, are, was, were, be, been, being.

so you are left with "killed by the soldier".

Tag it into the second sentence: Intruders had guns.

You get: Intruders killed by the soldier had guns.

BTW: The past participle phrase acts as adjective in the above sentence.

To be continued........
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 31 Dec 2011, 22:49
@GMATLA THanks for the link on the Dicussion it makes some sense. @Someone79 I am sorry I do not understand your definition. There is a lot of terminology that does not make sense to me. Could you please present an easier example of both. I look forward to your reply!!
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2012, 14:07
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gmatpunjabi,

it might be easier if you said exactly what is not clear to you.

To throw in some of my help, I will first explain about what someone79 meant by saying restrictive and non-restrictive modifier. You can also call them essential and non-essential modifier.

Modifier is a phrase or clause that changes/describes a noun. Modifier can be essential or non-essential

An essential modifier is a phrase or clause of the sentence that describes a noun and is crucial part of the sentence because without essential modifier you cannot understand the sentence.

A non-essential modifier is a phrase or clause that describes a noun but if you removed it from the sentence you would still be able to understand the sentence.

Adjective is something that describes a noun or pronoun. Example: Beautiful cat - the adjective is word beautiful.

Adverb is something that describes a verb. Example: He beautifully painted that canvas - the adverb is beautifully.

Note that adjective and adverbs are also considered modifiers.

Did this help you a little bit?
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Last edited by Lolcat33 on 03 Jan 2012, 01:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2012, 14:04
The thing I do not understand what a Past and Past Participle Phrase is. Thank you for the explanation about the essential/nonessential modifier that makes a lot more sense.
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2012, 01:50
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You mean Present and Past Participle phrase?

Before I try to explain it to you I have to tell you that I edited my previous post. I am bringing this up in order to make sure you are not confused. In my edited sentence, I initially wrote "essential modifier is a noun of phrase..." and corrected it to" essential modifier is a noun or phrase..."

The mistake is obvious, you have probably noticed already by yourself. I just want to make sure that I did not provide you with a bad advice.

Anyway, as far as the participles are concerned it is really not that hard. Someone97 provided you with an example, so I am going to use his in order to help. He wrote this:

Cat is sitting on the desk. Cat was eating bread.

First of all, notice that these are two sentences, with two subjects and two verbs. Now, the whole thing behind participle phrases (in the second example) that is probably making you confused is that they are not verbs but actually act as adjectives. Why? Because they describe nouns. Check out the second example.

Cat sitting on the desk was eating bread.

First, the subject is "Cat"
Second, the verb is "was eating"
Third, but kind of unnecessary to mention, "bread" is an object.

so what is "sitting on the desk"? It is a present participle phrase because it modifies (describes) the "Cat". Someone79 said that this sentence helps you single out a particular cat. Imagine if you had a cat on the floor, a cat on the TV, a cat on the sofa etc. Now you say, cat sitting on the desk was eating bread, and you know exactly which cat ate bread.

It is of the essence that you do not confuse present participle phrases with gerund. They are easy to confuse because they end with -ing form. You just need to know that gerund behaves as a noun, and present participle phrase (as well as past participle phrase) behaves as an adjective.
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2012, 12:27
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More often than not, people do get confused between gerund and present participle. It is because they both have the same form – verb+ing. However, they do have a difference.

GERUND: A gerund is formed by adding ‘ing’ to a verb. Essentially, gerunds function as nouns. They do denote an action but act as a noun in the sentence. For example: Swimming is my favorite hobby. Here, “Swimming” certainly denotes an action but it functions as a noun in this sentence, acting as a subject.

PRESENT PARTICPLE: They are also formed using ‘ing’ with the verb. However, present participles in a sentence act either like an adverb or an adjective. At e-gmat, we call them verb-ing modifiers. They either modify the verbs or the nouns in the sentence. For example: The rising sun has inspired my photographers and painters. Here “rising” is modifying the noun “sun”, hence acting like an adjective.

Now let’s take these two sentences:

1. Asking questions is no crime.

2. Asking the same question again and again, Bob kept disturbing the class.

In sentence 1, “Asking” is a gerund. It denotes an action but is a noun in the sentence that acts like a verb. In sentence 2, “asking” is a verb-ing modifier because it is referring to the verb “kept disturbing”. How did Bob keep disturbing the class? He did so sy asking same question again and again. Here “asking the same question again and again” is working like an adverb and hence is a verb-ing modifier.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2012, 16:34
That clears up everything Thank You!
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 24 May 2013, 22:43
Hi egmat,

You provided a very nice explanation... +1 to you...

Could you please also explain the C option in terms of gerund and participles.


The Baldrick Manufacturing Company has for
several years followed a policy aimed at decreasing operating costs and improving the efficiency of its
distribution system.
(A) aimed at decreasing operating costs and improving
(B) aimed at the decreasing of operating costs and to improve
(C) aiming at the decreasing of operating costs and improving
(D) the aim of which is the decreasing of operating costs and improving
(E) with the aim to decrease operating costs and to improve




In option C, OG says that "Using the before decreasing creates a gerund, which is not parallel to the participle improving. Can you please explain how and why.
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Re: Gerund vs Present Participle [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2013, 07:22
gmatpunjabi wrote:
Whats the difference between a Gerund and a Present Participle? THey both have the "-ing" form. Any help woud be appreciated!!


Manhattan SC explains that Gerunds are "-ing verb forms used as nouns". Also, Manhattan says that there are two types of Gerund Phrases - Simple Gerund Phrases and Complex Gerund Phrases. The distinction between them is following:

Example - Simple gerund phrase:
Tracking satellites accurately is important for the space agency. - Simple gerund phrases are "Nouns on the Outside, Verbs on the Inside." in other words, if you look inside the gerund phrase (tracking satellites accurately), you could simple turn this gerund phrase into a working verb if you add I AM tracking satellites accurately.

Example - Complex gerund phrase:
The accurate tracking of satellites is important for the space agency. - Complex gerund phrases are "Nouns Through and Through." you can not turn these gerund phrases into working verbs, even if you look inside the phrase (the accurate tracking of satellites). complex gerund phrases often have articles (the, a, an) in front of them, or Of-prepositional phrase, so that you can not turn them into a working verb if you look inside the phrase itself.

you need to know distinction between them because when you try to use Parallelism topic on GMAT, you have to make sure that simple gerund phrases are parallel to only simple gerund phrases; you can't make simple gerund phrase parallel to complex gerund phrase! Example - I enjoyed drinking the water AND the wine tasting. "drinking water" is simple gerund phrase (you can turn it into a working verb) and "wine tasting" can not be turned into a working verb even if you add noun to this phrase (I wine tasting - does not make any sense).

only complex gerund phrases {NOT simple gerund phrases} can be made parallel to action nouns, such as withdrawal, reduction (these nouns are formed from the verbs withdraw and reduce).

on the other hand, we have another "-ing verb form" called present participle which is formed from -ing verb form. example could be "shining star". shining is derived from verb "shine", but here it acts as an adjective which defines the star. when you see "-ing verb form" which acts as an adjective in the sentence, you can make this "-ing verb form" parallel to another adjective, or even past participle, which should describe the noun as well.

Present Participle Example
Only a few feet wide BUTspanning a continent, the railroad changed history. - Here we see "-ing verb form", but it should not be confused to Gerund phrases explained above, which act as nouns in the sentence. here, both "wide" and "spanning" describe the railroad (the noun in the sentence), so they can be parallel.

so, looking from Parallelism perspective, the distinction from Gerund and Present Participle can be seen this way:
Simple gerund phrases should be parallel to ONLY simple gerund phrases.
Complex gerund phrases can be parallel to action nouns, even action nouns don't have "-ing verb form".
Present Participle has "-ing verb form", but it can be parallel to adjective since both act as modifier to a noun in the sentence.

Hope this might help you see the distinction between Gerund and Present Participle from "Parallelism point of view".
Re: Gerund vs Present Participle   [#permalink] 27 Aug 2013, 07:22
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