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gerund vs. participle

gerund vs. participle: What's the difference?

Gerund and participle refer to verb forms that look similar but serve different grammatical purposes. A gerund functions as a noun, and in English ends with -ing. The word singing is a gerund in the sentence Singing is my passion. A participle has both past and present forms, and can function as an adjective. The words walking and signed are participles in the walking path and the signed letter. Participle can also refer to verb forms used with auxiliary verbs in the progressive and perfect aspects, as in We are walking or We have walked before.

[ jer-uhnd ]
  1. (in certain languages, as Latin) a form regularly derived from a verb and functioning as a noun, having in Latin all case forms but the nominative, as Latin dicendī genitive, dicendō dative, ablative, etc., “saying.”
  2. the English -ing form of a verb when functioning as a noun, as writing in Writing is easy.
  3. a form similar to the Latin gerund in meaning or function.
[ pahr-tuh-sip-uhl, -suh-puhl ]
  1. an adjective or complement to certain auxiliaries that is regularly derived from the verb in many languages and refers to participation in the action or state of the verb; a verbal form used as an adjective. It does not specify person or number in English, but may have a subject or object, show tense, etc., as burning, in a burning candle, or devoted in his devoted friend.

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