The Gerund and the Participle in English


What are the Gerund and the Participle in English?

  • A Gerund is the form of verb which ends in “ing” and is partly a verb and partly a noun. (It is a adverbial noun). So, a gerund is the form of an –ing verb used as a noun. A present participle always goes with the verb TO BE to form a continuous tense.
  • What are the gerund and the participle in English?
  • The gerund is called the form of the present participle of the verb that acts as a noun in a sentence. It is very easy to recognize it, as it ends in –ing. The gerund can be both affirmative (cry – crying) and negative (not crying).
  • Both the Gerund and the infinitive have the force of a noun and a verb. Therefore, their uses are also similar, as; Smoking is injurious to health. The word smoking is formed with addition of ‘ing’ with ‘smoke’ so this works for ‘noun’ because is used as a subject of the verb, so in this way it is both count as ‘noun’, and ‘Gerund’
  • Gerunds functions as nouns. Thus, gerunds will be subjects, subject –complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.
  • Present Participles, on the other hand, complete progressive verbs or act as modifiers.
  • Gerund may be used as under:

1.     1.  Subject of a verb:

  • Smoking is injurious to health.
  • Drinking breeds many diseases.
  • Walking is useful for health.

2.     2.  Object of Transitive Verb:

  • I hate gambling.
  • Children stopped talking.
  • We enjoy playing on Sunday.

3.     3.  Subject of Preposition:

  • She is fond of singing.
  • I am tired of studying.
  • He is in the habit of smoking.

4.     4.  Complement of a Verb:

  • Seeing is the believing.
  • The most hated thing is lying.
  • Hearing is obeying.
  • What he likes best is fishing.

5.      5. As a Compound Noun:

  • A flyingplane (A plane for flying)
  • A frying pan (A pan for frying)
  • A swimmingcostume (A costume for swimming)

6.      6. Preceded by a Noun or Pronoun:

  • Note: When gerund is preceded by a noun or pronoun, it must be in the possessive form. (Ali`s, Ahmad`s, my, your, his, her, our, etc.) As the gerund is finally a noun. Such as;
  • He insisted on my being present in the meeting.
  • I hope you will excuse my leaving early.
  • She persisted in Ali`s staying with her.

7.      Sometimes, a Gerund in the Possessive Case is not used:

  • ( (A) When it denotes a lifeless thing, as;

1.      There is no possibility of train coming late.

2.      There is possibility of bus being late.

3.      I hope the car reaching soon.

  • (B)  When a Plural Noun ends in “s”, as;

1.      I like the boys playing hockey.

2.      She wants the girls being present

3.      I want the toys being imported.

  •     (C) When Gerund is used in the Passive form:

         1. He was beingsent to jail. 

         2. Shoaib was being dismissed from service.

         3. Students were being taught a lesson.

Difference between Gerund and Present Participle

  • Gerund and present Participle both are a form of verb which ends in “ing”, as;

(A) Gerund is a partly a verb and partly a noun.

(B) Participle is partly a verb and partly an adjective. Gerund is verb-noun whereas participle is verb-adjective



He is fond of playing cards.

He is tired of walking.

I like smiling.

Playing cards, he set to work.

Walking along the road, he is tired.

She went away smiling.

More Difference between Gerund and Present Participle:

Gerund (Compound Noun)

Participle (Verbal Adjective)

A singing hall.

A sleeping room.

A travelling uniform.

A smiling look.

A swimming costume.

A singing boy.

A sleeping baby.

A travelling party.

A smiling girl.

A swimming person.


  • Note: In the examples above, we find one word common in every two sentences but the second is different. We see that when the “ing” verb is followed by a person, it forms verbial adjective but when it followed by an inanimate thing, it forms a compound 


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