The Gerund and the verbal noun compared.

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The Gerund and the verbal noun compared.

The gerund is a non-finite form of the verb with some noun features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb. The grammatical meaning of the gerund is that of a process.

Although formed in the same way as the gerund, the verbal noun is another part of speech and has no verbal features at all. The following table shows the main differences between the gerund and the verbal noun.



The characteristics of the gerund and the verbal noun

Forms Grammatical characteristics The gerund   The verbal noun  
M o r Voice and perfect   being done, having done   -  
f o l o g y The plural form   - sufferings, comings and goings
  S y n t a x Direct object I like doing morning exercises. -
Of-phrase and adjectival attributes   -   The doing of morning Exercises was very good for me. The regular doing of morning exercises  
Adverbs as a modifier   Doing morning exercises regularly will improve your health.   -  
Articles   -   The doing of morning exercises. The acting was perfect.


The distinctive features of the gerund are its verbal categories in the sphere of morphology and its verbal combinability. The distinctive features of the verbal noun are its nominal category of number and its noun combinability. It must be taken into consideration that a verbal noun is an abstract noun, and the use of the article and the plural form is determined by the requirements of the meaning and context.

It is more difficult to discriminate between a gerund and a verbal noun in cases where the verbal characteristics of the gerund are not apparent. This happens mainly when an -ing form is used as a single word without any modifiers or with such modifiers as occur with both the gerund and the verbal noun (His coming was unexpected. Her acting was perfect). In such cases the meaning of the form should be taken into account. Thus a gerund suggests a process, an activity, whereas a verbal noun denotes kinds of occupation (skating as compared to hockey), an art form (acting, painting), a branch of knowledge (engineering, spelling as opposed to pronunciation and as a synonym for orthography).

It goes without saying that an -ing form is a pure noun when it denotes an object, often the result of activity (a building - a house; a drawing, a painting - a picture). In such cases a noun unlike a gerund, may also combine with numerals, as in two drawings, four buildings, etc.


Participle I. Verbal, adjectival and adverbial features of Participle I.

Participle I is a non-finite form of the verb with some adjectival and adverbial features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb.

The verbal character of participle I is manifested morphologically in the categories of voice and perfect and syntactically in its combinability. Thus, like the other non-finites, it may combine: a) with a noun or a pronoun as direct, indirect or prepositional object; b) with an adverb or a prepositional phrase as an adverbial modifier; c) with a noun or adjective as a predicative. a) Seeing him, I started to smile. b) Rising early, you’ll do a lot of things. c) Being empty-headed, he offend her not on purpose.

Participle I is used as a pure verb form in the formation of the continuous aspect forms.

The adjectival and adverbial features of participle I are manitested in its syntactical functions as an attribute and an adverbial modifier. *Arriving home, she saw him alone, leaning agains the window. (adverbial modifier of time, detached attribute).

Non-perfect participle I active has synonymous adjectives formed from the same verb stem, such as resulting - resultant, convulsing - convulsive, abounding - abundant, deceiving - deceptive. Some participles border on adjectives when used as attributes or predicatives, and have qualitative adjectives as synonyms; for example amusing - funny, boring - dull, deafening - (very) loud. There are even some deverbal adjectives that have completely lost their verbal meaning, for example interesting, charming.

When they lose their verbal character, participles may be modified by adverbs of degree used with adjectives, such as very, so, too, as in very (greatly, exceedingly, etc.) amusing, too boring, most exciting. * Last news was extremely gratifying.

Like an adjective, participle I forms adverbs with the suffix -ly: laughingly, jokingly, surprisingly, admiringly, appealingly, feelingly.

*Why are you looking at me?-asked she feelingly.

35.The grammatical categories of the Participle I. The category of perfect. The category of voice.Participle I is a non-finite form of the verb with some adjectival and adverbial features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb.

The grammatical categories of participle I

voice perfect   Active   Passive
Non-perfect Taking being taken
perfect having taken having being taken


The category of perfect

The category of perfect in participle I finds its expression in the contrast of the non-perfect and perfect forms. The non-perfect form suggests that the action denoted by participle I is simultaneous with that of the finite verb.

*Working as mechanic you know how many things work.  

The perfect form of participle I indicates that the action denoted by the participle is prior to that denoted by the finite verb.

*Having done the homework you can do want you want.

Non-perfect participle I regularly expresses immediate priority and denotes an instantaneous action if it is formed from terminative verbs, such as verbs of motion (to come, to enter, to arrive, to turn, to leave), of sense perception (to see, to hear, to find) and verbs of certain specific actions associated with motion (to put, to put on, to take, to take off, to seize, to grasp, to open). *Arriving home, he found him alone. *Hearing a noise in outside, I looked out of the window.

The perfect participle of the same verbs is used when there is a lapse of time between the two actions, or when the action denoted by the participle is durative. *Seeing Jane, I rushed to shake hands. *Not having seen her for a long time, I didn’t recognize her.

Non-perfect participle I may denote a posterior action, immediately following the first action, forming its part or being its result, as in:

*Anna fell, hurting his hands.

The category of voice

Participle I of transitive verbs, both non-perfect and perfect, has voice distinctions, which are realized in the contrast of active and passive forms:

*Translating the novel from English into Russian, the author be witted.   Being translated the novel was appreciated among the students.  

Participle I active denotes an action directed from the doer of the action, while participle I passive denotes an action directed towards it.

The doer of the action may be expressed by the nominal element of a predicative construction:

*I heard someone calling your by name.

*I heard your name being called by someone.

Non-perfect participle I active of transitive verbs can be contrasted not only with participle I passive, but also with participle II: taking -being taken -taken

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