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Difference Between Gerund and Participle

A verbal is a term formed from a verb that serves as a noun or modifier in a phrase instead of as a verb. In other terms, a verbal is a verb which serves as the another part of speech.

Difference Between Gerund and Participle

Infinitives, gerunds (also referred to as -ing forms), and participles are examples of verbals (also referred to as -ing forms and -en forms). A verbal phrase is a word group based on a verbal. Each of these verbals are most often part of a sentence that also contains relevant modifiers, objects, and complements.

Many English learners struggle to differentiate between gerund and participle since the structure of both gerund, and the present participle is identical. The major distinction between these two types is that gerunds are nouns, but the participle are adjectives.

What Basically Is a Gerund?

A gerund is a verb that concludes with -ing and functions as a noun in a phrase. A gerund is created by appending -ing to the verb's infinitive form. (watch + ing+ = watching, speak + ing+ = speaking) Because a gerund is derived from a verb, it signifies an activity or a state or status of existing or being. A gerund may be a subject, a direct object, a subject complement, or an object of a preposition.

As a Subject

  1. Drinking is not allowed on the premises.
  2. Skating is my favorite hobby.
  3. Meditating can be calming and soothing activity.

As a Direct Subject

  1. She likes traveling to various places and countries.
  2. They love her dancing.

As a Subject Complement

  1. My brother's hobby is playing musical instruments.
  2. My cat's favorite pastime is sleeping.

As an Object of Preposition

  1. The cops arrested him for destroying the office property.
  2. She left without speaking a word.
  3. He can get in trouble for lying about his illness to skip school.

What Precisely Is a Participle?

Participle implies to the verb that is employed to describe something.

There are 2 kinds of participles. These are

  1. Present Participle
  2. Past Participle.
Difference Between Gerund and Participle

Numerous English learners find it tough to distinguish between the present participle and the gerund since they both finish in -ing. In reality, the composition of the present participle is the same as that of the gerund.

For instance, "watching" is utilized as both the present participle as well as the gerund. Because it is based on a verb, the present participle describes a condition of being or activity. However, because participles function as adjectives, they are primarily used to alter nouns and pronouns.

A Participle performs the following tasks.

Aspects That Are Constant

  1. She wasn't driving.
  2. He was just passing by the office.


  1. Ella touched the fuming wood stick.
  2. The research disclosed a shocking reality.

Participle Clauses

  1. He saw him strolling on the seaside.
  2. Having worked in a clinic, he understood the graveness of the situation.
  3. The individual operating the equipment was not harmed.

A comma must be placed at the end of a sentence that starts with a participle or a participle phrase. As an example,

Grinning, she cuddled the baby.

Note that if a participle or participle phrase appears in the midst of a sentence, it must be split with commas if the info is not vital to the meaning. Commas shouldn't be used if the information is critical.

  1. Marina, watching an old film, moved in and out of the room.
  2. The kid wearing a red hat is my buddy.
Difference Between Gerund and Participle

What Is The Distinction Between Gerund And Participle?

The gerund as well as the present participle is derived from a verb and end in -ing. Each, however, serves a distinct purpose. A gerund serves/ performs as a noun, but a present participle serves as a verb or adjective.

Skiing is enjoyable (gerund).

He is skiing (the present participle).

Skiing can be utilized as the gerund as well as the present participle.

Skiing functions as a gerund when it acts as a noun. Moreover, it may be a subject, an object, a prepositional object, or a subject complement.

A present participle, unlike a gerund, can function as an adjective that changes a noun or accompanies the verb 'be. '

like in thrilling

Thrilling time was had by the team.

The adjective thrilling is a present participle used to alter a noun or to accompany the verb to be.

The thrilling ride made the kids scream.

Here are a few differences

1. In Terms of Function

The gerund can be employed as a noun.

A participle serves as a verb or an adjective.

2. In Terms of Usage

A gerund is used as a subject or direct object, or the subject complement, or the object of the preposition in sentences.

The participle can be considered as a modifier.

3. In Terms of Types

Gerunds can be a subject, object of a verb, object of a preposition, object of a possessive pronoun, or a subject complement.

Whereas Participle can be of two types- Present Participle and Past Participle

4. Position

A gerund can take the following places in the sentence ;

  • Prior to the main verb (For instance the Linking or action verb )
  • After/ post the action verb (Transitive verbs )
  • Post the preposition.
  • Post the possessive adjective.
  • Post the main verb.

The participle may take the below-mentioned places in the sentence ;

  • Prior the noun.
  • Post the noun or ;
  • Post the main verb (Linking verb )

Examples of Gerunds and Participles Explaining Their Types, Function, and Position

Gerund Examples Explaining Types :

  1. Singing is her hobby. (subject )
  2. I like singing. (object of the verb 'like' )
  3. He thinks about singing the entire day. (object of the preposition 'about' )
  4. We are a great admirer of your singing. (object of the possessive adjective 'your' )
  5. His hobby is singing. (subject complement )

Participle Examples Explaining Types :

  • Present Participle
  • Past Participle

Present Participle

The present participle refers to the verbs with a 'ing' form which changes a noun in a statement. It can be used as an adjective or a verb.

Now let us look at

Present Participle As Adjectives

Present participles as adjectives appear immediately before or after a noun or pronoun and modify it.

Here are some instances of adjectives using present participles :

  1. We are residing in a flourishing nation. (describing the noun 'nation ' )
  2. He can't leap from a moving bus. (describing the noun 'bus ' )
  3. The film was inspiring. (describing the noun 'film ' )
  4. See that glowing bus. (describing the noun 'bus ' )
  5. The man standing with your brother is a choreographer. ('standing' is the present participle, and 'standing with your brother' is a present participle phrase )

Tip 1: A present participle phrase is formed whenever a present participle is accompanied by the object or the modifier.

A present participle may serve as the action verb (primary verb) when it is accompanied by an assisting verb and exhibits an action.

Examples :

  1. You are moving very fast.
  2. You were moving fast.
  3. You have been moving quite fast.

Moving is used as an action verb in the instances above. It depicts the activity of running. It doesn't describe any nouns or pronouns.

Tip 2: A present participle can be utilized as an adjective as well as the verb.

To avoid misleading others or yourself, name it the present participle adjective when it serves as an adjective and the present participle when it only performs as a verb.

Past Participle

A past participle is a verb's third form (V3) that alters a noun in a sentence. It can be used as an adjective or as an action verb.

Now let us have a look at ;

Past Participle as An Adjective

When referring to a noun or pronoun and providing information about it, a past participle functions as an adjective. It can be used as an adjective in three different ways in a sentence:

  • It comes right before the noun it is altering.
  • It comes just after the noun it is altering.
  • Following a linking verb.

Consider the following past participles used as adjectives :

  1. A positive individual can accomplish anything. (describing the noun 'individual ' )
  2. He is very devoted to her targets. (describing the pronoun 'he ' )
  3. Your brother was tense about you. (describing the noun 'brother ' )
  4. The mansion charred by the fire is near my workplace. (describing the noun 'mansion ', as well as "charred by the fire" is a past participle phrase )

A past participle, like a present participle, serves as a verb in a phrase. When this happens, it comes along a helping verb.

Past Participle As The Action Verb (Primary Verb)

A past participle that is accompanied by a helping verb and depicts an action serves as an action verb.

Examples :

You have inspired me a lot.

I have devoted this life to my nation.

They had charred my office before I arrived there.

The bold words in the preceding examples are action verbs (past participles). They are not altering any nouns or pronouns; rather, they are demonstrating an activity.

Tip 3: A past participle can be used as both an adjective as well as the verb.

To avoid misleading, name it a past participle adjective whenever it operates as an adjective and a past participle whenever it solely serves as a verb.

Present Participle Vs. Gerund

It is a typical misunderstanding to distinguish between a gerund and a present participle.

Why is there confusion ?

Gerunds and present participles have an identical appearance; they are both progressive forms of verbs. You might not be able to tell the difference just by looking at them, but if you understand how they work, there is little doubt that they are worlds apart.

Difference Between Gerund and Participle

So, here's how it works :

  • A GERUND is formed when an ing form of a verb (progressive) serves as a noun.
  • It is a PRESENT PARTICIPLE or PRESENT PARTICIPLE ADJECTIVE if it operates as an adjective (modifies a noun).
  • It is a PRESENT PARTICIPLE if it serves as an action verb (alters a noun).

Now let us look at the place of a gerund and a present participle !

Position Of A Gerund

  • Before the main verb.(As the subject )
  • After an action verb (transitive) (As the object of a verb )
  • After a linking verb. (As the subject complement )
  • After a preposition.(As the object of a preposition )
  • After a possessive adjective.(As the object of a possessive pronoun )
  1. Snowboarding makes me joyful. (Before the main verb makes )
  2. I hate snowboarding. (After the main verb hate )
  3. I am not imagining about snowboarding. (After the preposition about )
  4. My hobby is snowboarding. (After the linking verb is )
  5. Everyone likes your snowboarding. (After the possessive adjective your )

In the preceding sentence, the word snowboarding is a gerund since it functions as a noun. It should not be confused with a present participle because a present participle does not function as a noun and cannot fill these roles.

A Present Participle's Position

  • Immediately before a noun ,
  • Following a noun ,
  • Following a linking verb (main verb )


  1. See at the burning station.
  2. The boy grooving on the stage is my brother.
  3. This film is amazing.

There is no hint for distinguishing between the gerund and a present participle whenever they are accompanied by a connecting verb. In that situation, all you have to do is look at their function. A gerund (noun) renames the subject, while a present participle (adjective) modifies it.

  1. My love is dancing. (renaming the subject "love" )
  2. Avinash is enthralling. (Changing the subject) It can also be an action verb.
  3. Manish is a dancing. (action verb )

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