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Gerund or present participle?

20 replies

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 13:46

In the sentence "He is waiting for his friend to return from her break before going on his." is going a gerund or present participle?

(Question posted on another (non-parenting) forum I use - but there are more people who care about such things here!)

OP posts:
poppyknot · 12/08/2008 14:04

Gerund (I think!! I was one who struggled with gerunds/gerundives, but loved the ablative absolute.) )

What a great pedant-friendly question. Are you parsing the whole sentence?

JackieNo · 12/08/2008 14:07

I think present participle - it would be 'before he is going on his', but you leave out the 'he is', because it's neater.

SqueakyPop · 12/08/2008 14:10

I thought that a gerund was a verb turned into a noun - so to to put a gerund into that sentence would be: he is waiting for his friend's returning from his break... ie, to return turned into a returning.

JackieNo · 12/08/2008 14:11

Yes, agree with Squeakypop.

PortAndLemon · 12/08/2008 14:12

I think present participle. It would be a gerund if you said "Going on his break has to wait for his friend to return from hers." i.e. if you are using "going" as a verbal noun, which you aren't in the first instance.

But I could be wrong.

PortAndLemon · 12/08/2008 14:12

("Going on his break has to wait for his friend to return from hers." would be a very bad and clunky sentence, mind you)

SqueakyPop · 12/08/2008 14:13

Yes, going on his break - the going would be a noun rather than a verb, therefore a gerund.

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:14

poppyknot - I wasn't planning to, no - but feel free!

JackieNo - I'm about 60% convinced by that... except that I don't think you could actually put the "he is" in the sentence, and so it worries me that that might make that reasoning fallacious...

(I was never taught gerunds. I feel incomplete.)

OP posts:
cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:16

SqueakyPop - yeah, I don't think it's acting as a noun, but I don't think it's acting as an adjective either, which I think is the condition for a present particple?

OP posts:
SqueakyPop · 12/08/2008 14:19

But you could say: his going on his break - so clearly going is a noun.

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:23

SqueakyPop - sorry, I meant in the original sentence - I'm not sure that going is acting as a noun or an adjective there.

I think the before is confusing everything.

OP posts:
Brangelina · 12/08/2008 14:24

I don't think it is a gerund, but I'm basing my supposition on the fact that in the other languages I know the "going" part would be infinitive (avant d'aller, prima di andare plus Russian equivalent[no cyrillic keyboard]). It would be the equivalent of "before he went". Gerunds tend to have a more specific role in a sentence, eg. "Turning towards her, he said...." "having done that, he went on his way..."

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:29

Okay - post from the other thread:
"I would have said it is the object of the before preposition and as such is a nominal. As in:
"Before doing your taxes, you should call your accountant."
where I would say doing is a gerund.
It's probably a borderline case though."


OP posts:
TrinityRhino · 12/08/2008 14:33

I am ashamed to say that I have no idea what you lot are talking about

very ashamed

I do, however, possess a neeeeeeed for people to spell properly and can't stand text speak.

I will leave now

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:41

Trinity - stay!

"Learning about the gerund is very easy" - in that phrase "Learning about the gerund" is the subject of the verb (is) so learning is a gerund.

"I am learning about the gerund" - here learning is a present participle.

OP posts:
Brangelina · 12/08/2008 14:48

YesCornflake, that's what I meant but was unable to articulate. All my examples are distant hazy memories from a Russian grammar book, so I'm just going by what I would have made into a gerund in Russian (where gerunds and participles are completely different words, unlike English or French, say).

cornflakegirl · 12/08/2008 14:51

Okay, I've been doing some research on the object of the preposition, and this link seems to come down pretty definitively on the side of the gerund.

OP posts:
poppyknot · 12/08/2008 17:10

Squeakypop - I think I had the 'his going' construction in my head.

I used to work with someone whose pet hate was people using object pronoun instead of possessive in construcitons such as 'You don't mind my asking.......' We spoke very properly in that office!

I think gerund is a gerund or is it a gerundive.

SqueakyPop · 12/08/2008 17:22

That person could be me, poppy - although I don't go as far as correcting people.

I haven't heard of gerundive, just gerund - but I learnt all this stuff 25 years ago, and have killed many brain cells since then.

PortAndLemon · 12/08/2008 17:35

I think you don't get gerundives in English, although you do in Latin.

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