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The gerund and the participle.




In most cases the differentiation between the gerund and the par­ticiple does not present any difficulty.

Unlike the participle the gerund may be preceded by a preposition, it may be modified by a noun in the possessive case or by a possessive pronoun; it can be used in the function of a subject, object, and predica­tive. In the function of an attribute and of an adverbial modifier both the gerund and the participle may be used, but the gerund in these functions is always preceded by a preposition.

There are cases, however, when the differentiation between the gerund and the participle presents some difficulty; for instance, it is not always easy to distinguish between a gerund as part of a com­pound noun and a participle used as an attribute to a noun. One should bear in mind that if we have a gerund as part of a compound noun, the person or thing denoted by the noun does not perform the action expressed by the />7g-form: e. g. a dancing-hall (a hall for dancing), a cooking-stove (a stove for cooking), walking shoes, a writing-table, etc.

If wc have a participle used as an attribute the person denoted by the noun performs the action expressed by the ing-iorm\ e. g. a dancing girl (a girl who dances), a singing child, etc.

However, there are cases which admit of two interpretations; for example a sewing machine may be understood in two ways: a machine for sewing and a machine which sews; a hunting dog may be a dog for hunting and a dog that hunts.


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