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Encyclopedia > Gerund

In linguistics, “gerund” is a term used to refer to various non-finite verb forms in various languages: For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ... A non-finite verb is not limited by the person, tense and number of the subject. ...

  • As applied to English, it refers to what might be called a verb's action noun, which is one of the uses of the -ing form. This is also the term's use as applied to Latin; see Latin conjugation.
  • As applied to Spanish, it refers to an adverbial participle (a verbal adverb), called in Spanish the gerundio. The term gerundive is also applied to this.
  • As applied to French, it refers either the adverbial participle — also called the gerundive — or to the present adjectival participle.
  • As applied to Hebrew, it refers either to the verb's action noun, or to the part of the infinitive that follows the infinitival prefix (also called the infinitival construct).
  • As applied to Frisian, it refers to one of two verb forms frequentely referred to as infinitives, this one ending in -n. It shows up in nominalizations and is selected by perception verbs.
  • As applied to other languages, it may refer to almost any non-finite verb form. As applied to Japanese, it designates verb and adjective forms ending in -te or -de, the continuative stem of an older perfective auxiliary verb; however, it most often refers to an action noun, by analogy with its use as applied to English or Latin.

Contents

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... Conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from one basic form. ... Look up Adverbial participle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Be sure to check the discussion page (and feel free to remove this tag if this article is updated). ... Be sure to check the discussion page (and feel free to remove this tag if this article is updated). ... Adjectival participle is a lexical category in the grammar of some languages (Russian [1], Hungarian, many Eskimo languages, e. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. ... This article is about the Frisian languages, as spoken in the north of the Netherlands and Germany. ... In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. ... // Definition A nominalization is a word that has been changed from a verb or an adjective into a noun. ...

Gerunds in English

In English the gerund is identical in form to the present participle (ending in -ing) and can behave as a verb within a clause (so that it may be modified by an adverb or have an object), but the clause as a whole (sometimes consisting only of one word, the gerund) acts as a noun within the larger sentence. For example: In linguistics, a participle is a non-finite verb form that can be used in compound tenses or voices, or it can be used as a modifier. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate, although in some languages and some types of clauses, the subject may not appear explicitly. ... In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ...

Editing this article is very easy.

In the phrase "Editing this article", (although this is traditionally known as a phrase, it is referred to as a non-finite clause in modern linguistics) the word "Editing" behaves as a verb; the phrase "this article" is the object of that verb. But the whole phrase "Editing this article" acts as a noun within the sentence as a whole; it is the subject of the verb "is".


Other examples of the gerund:

The accusative case of a noun is, generally, the case used to mark the direct object of a verb. ... According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ...

Verb patterns with the gerund

Verbs that are normally followed by a gerund include admit, adore, anticipate, appreciate, avoid, carry on, consider, contemplate, delay, deny, describe, detest, dislike, enjoy, escape, fancy, feel, finish, give up, hear, imagine, include, justify, keep (on), listen to, mention, mind, miss, notice, observe, perceive, postpone, practice, quit, recall, report, resent, resume, risk, see, sense, stop, suggest, tolerate and watch. Additionally, prepositions are followed by a gerund. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with adposition. ...


It is important to remember that the preposition "to" can also be used to introduce the infinitive. For example, in the sentence: "I went to the store to buy milk", the first "to" acts as a preposition of place, explaining where I went. However, the second "to" does not act as a preposition, but rather introduces the infinitive "to buy", which explains why you went.


For example:

  • We postponed making any decision.
  • I simply adore reading what you write.
  • I detest going to the cinema.
  • We heard whispering.
  • His physician advised leaving home for a week.
  • They denied having avoided me. (= They denied that they had avoided me.)
  • He talked me into coming to the party.
  • They frightened her out of voicing her opinion.

Verbs followed by a gerund or a to-infinitive

With little change in meaning


begin, continue, start; hate, like, love, prefer


With would, the verbs hate, like, love, and prefer are usually followed by the to-infinitive. In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. ...


For example:

  • I hate to work. or I hate working.
  • I love to sleep. or I love sleeping.
  • I would like to work there. (more usual than working)

In these examples, if the subject of the verb is not the subject of the second verb, the second verb must be a gerund (instead of an infinitive)


If I am watching sports on television, for example, I can react to the programs only as follows:

  • I hate boxing.
  • I love swimming.

With a change in meaning


dread and hate:


These two verbs are followed by a to-infinitive when talking hypothetically (usually when using to think), but by a gerund when talking about general dislikes.

  • I dread / hate to think what she will do.
  • I dread / hate seeing him.

forget and remember:


When these have meanings which are used to talk about the future from the given time, the to-infinitive is used, but when looking back in time, the gerund.

  • She forgot to tell me our plans. (She did not tell me, though she should have.)
  • She forgot telling me our plans. (She told me, but then forgot having done so.)
  • I remembered to go to work. (I remembered that I needed to go to work, and so I did.)
  • I remembered going to work. (I remembered the action of previously going to work.)

can't bear:

  • I can't bear to see you suffer like this. (You are suffering now.)
  • I can't bear being pushed round in crowds. (I never like that.)

go on:

  • After winning the semi-finals, he went on to play in the finals. (He completed the semi-finals, then later played in the finals.)
  • He went on giggling, not having noticed the teacher enter. (He continued doing so.)

mean:

  • I didn't mean to scare you off!
  • Her having got a new job in the city meant leaving behind her familiar surroundings.

advise, recommend and forbid:


These are followed by a to-infinitive when there is an object as well, but with a gerund otherwise.

  • The police advised us not to enter the building, for a murder had occurred. (us is the object)
  • The police advised against our entering the building.

regret:

  • We regret to inform you that you have failed your exam. (a polite or formal form of apology)
  • I very much regret saying what I said. (I wish I hadn't said that.)

consider, contemplate and recommend: Look up apology in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


These verbs are followed by a to-infinitive only in the passive or with an object pronoun.

  • People consider her to be the best. – She is considered to be the best.
  • I'm considering sleeping over, if you don't mind.

try:


When a to-infinitive is used, it means the subject makes an effort at; attempt or endeavor to do something. If a gerund is used, it means the subject attempts to do something in testing to see what might happen.

  • Please try to remember to post my letter.
  • I have tried being stern, but to no avail.

Gerunds preceded by an object or a genitive

A gerund can be used in combination with an object or a genitive (possessive). The latter is considered more formal, and the only option when an adjective precedes the gerund, but is more common when the second verb applies to a person rather than an object. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

  • We enjoyed them (object pronoun) / their (genitive) singing.
  • We enjoyed their excellent singing. (an object pronoun is not possible here)

Gerunds and present participles

Traditional English grammar distinguished between gerunds and present participles. Both terms refer to the non-finite verb form ending in -ing (standing, swimming, etc.); traditionally, the former was applied when the verb form was acting in some sense like a noun (say, as the subject or subject of a verb or preposition), and the latter when it was acting in some sense like an adjective. The analogous distinction is very clear in Latin, where gerunds and participles are declined as nouns or adjectives, but the line is blurrier in English, and many modern linguists reject this distinction. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, a widely respected descriptive grammar by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum, uses the term gerund-participle, and lists its various uses without commenting on which might be considered nominal and which adjectival. In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ... According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ... An object in grammar is a sentence element and part of the sentence predicate. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with adposition. ... In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns and adjectives to indicate such features as number (typically singular vs. ... The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (ISBN 0-521-43146-8) presents a comprehensive descriptive grammar of English. ...


Insofar as there is a distinction between gerunds and present participles, it is generally fairly clear which is which; a gerund-participle that is the subject or object of a prepositions is a gerund if it refers to the performance of an action (but note that present participles may be used substantively to refer to the performer of an action), while one that modifies a noun attributively or absolutely is a participle. The main source of potential ambiguity is when a gerund-participle follows a verb; in this case it may be seen either as a predicate adjective (in which case it's a participle), or as a direct object or predicate nominative (in either of which cases it's a gerund). In this case, a few transformations can help distinguish them. In the table that follows, ungrammatical sentences are marked with asterisks, per common linguistic practice; note that the transformations all produce grammatical sentences with similar meanings when applied to sentences with gerunds, but either ungrammatical sentences, or sentences with completely different meanings, when applied to sentences with participles. In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually making its meaning more specific. ... In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ...

Transformation Gerund use Participle use
(none) John suggested asking Bill. John kept asking Bill.
passivization Asking Bill was suggested. *Asking Bill was kept.
pronominal substitution John suggested it. John kept it.
Use as a noun John suggested the asking of Bill. *John kept the asking of Bill.
Replacement with a finite clause John suggested that Bill be asked. *John kept that Bill be asked.
Use with an objective or possessive subject John suggested our asking Bill. *John kept his asking Bill.
Clefting Asking Bill is what John suggested. *Asking Bill is what John kept.
Left dislocation  ?Asking Bill John suggested. *Asking Bill John kept.

None of these transformations is a perfect test, however. In English as in many other languages, the passive voice is the form of a transitive verb whose grammatical subject serves as the patient, receiving the action of the verb. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate, although in some languages and some types of clauses, the subject may not appear explicitly. ... A cleft sentence is a way of focusing on a particular part of a sentence. ... In syntax, dislocation is a sentence structure in which a constituent which could otherwise be either an argument or an adjunct of the clause occurs outside the clause boundaries either to its left or to its right as in English They went to the store, Mary and Peter. ...


See also

Wikibooks
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Gerund
Look up Gerund in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Wikibooks logo Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Broadly conceived, linguistics is the study of human language, and a linguist is someone who engages in this study. ... Be sure to check the discussion page (and feel free to remove this tag if this article is updated). ... In linguistics, a participle is a non-finite verb form that can be used in compound tenses or voices, or it can be used as a modifier. ...

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Gerunds (158 words)
gerund: a noun that is made by adding -ing to the end of a verb.
It is important to understand that gerunds function as nouns, but are derived from verbs.
Gerunds may cause a bit of confusion because they look exactly like present participles; for example, if you see the word running all by itself, there's no way you could know whether it's a gerund or a present participle.
The Gerund. Fowler, H. W. 1908. The King's English (5264 words)
So the mistake (that the gerund may have a subject not marked by the possessive) is eagerly applied to obviating the inconvenience (that long gerund subjects must be avoided).
Noticing the bold use of the strict gerund in the first, we conclude that the author is a sound gerundite, faithful in spite of all temptations; but a few pages later comes the needless relapse into fused participle.
When the infinitive or gerund is attached to a noun, defining or answering the question what (hope, andc.) about it, it is almost always better to use the gerund with of; not quite always, however; for instance, an intention to return, usually, and a tendency to think always.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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