What's the difference between a Gerund and a Participle?

What's the difference between a Gerund and a Participle?

A Gerund is a verb form used as a noun whilst a Participle is a verb form used as an adjective.


: a verbal noun in Latin that expresses generalized or uncompleted action

: any of several linguistic forms analogous to the Latin gerund in languages other than Latin; especially : the English verbal noun in -ing that has the function of a substantive and at the same time shows the verbal features of tense, voice, and capacity to take adverbial qualifiers and to govern objects

: A Gerund is a verb and noun combined. eg: "I think of retiring soon from business."

Retiring is a verb, being part of the verb retire. It is also a noun, because it is object to the preposition 'of.


: a word having the characteristics of both verb and adjective; especially : an English verbal form that has the function of an adjective and at the same time shows such verbal features as tense and voice and capacity to take an object

: A Participle is a verb and adjective combined. eg: "A retired officer lives next door." or "She was killed by a falling tile."

Retired is a verb, being part of the verb to retire. It is also an adjective, because it qualifies the noun 'officer'. Falling is a verb, since it is part of the verb to fall, but it is also an adjective in that it qualifies the noun 'tile'. Hence a participle may be called a verbal adjective.

Comments 39 comments

livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

Great explanation! So "I like swimming" uses a gerund, while "I was swimming yesterday" uses a participle.

Veronica profile image

Veronica 9 years ago from NY

Darkside, I loved this. I joined your fan club because I loved it so much.

One of my pet peeves is the use of objective pronouns before gerundial phrases. It makes me cringe. It just sounds so ridiculous.

For example, it drives me insane to hear:

"I disapprove of you doing drugs."

"Doing" in that sentence is a gerund, "doing drugs" is a gerundial phrase. It has to be proceeded by a possessive pronoun. The correct version of that sentence is:

"I disapprove of your doing drugs."

Thanks, I appreciate your letting me vent. (wink)

darkside profile image

darkside 9 years ago from Australia Author

I must say Veronica, you have added value to this hub!

I approve of you doing that? :D

Veronica profile image

Veronica 9 years ago from NY

YOUR doing that. Very funny.

Don't make me growl and giggle at the same time ;)

Have a wonderful holiday!

Shida Pastol 8 years ago

ThanK U Vory Moch

Sodasound profile image

Sodasound 7 years ago from Calgary, Canada

Gee, I always thought it was the other way around Veronica. I suppose an explanation would be to examine whether, "I disapprove of 'you,'" or "I disapprove of 'your'"...doing drugs. Thanks for the tip.

LissieLin 7 years ago

Thanku very much. This might help me with my grammer test. It was straightforward and to the point.

= ) 7 years ago

I don't get any of this stuff. It makes no sense to me.

poonam 7 years ago

thankz a lot...i got my confusion cleared thru diz ...

rubab 7 years ago

its really proving helpful for me

LostInEnglish 7 years ago

I don't understand the difference between them still. Gerund or participle? "Working under a tight deadline, I mailed it promptly." "Paul's company makes money byb exporting goods." "My father hates to do the shopping."

koko 6 years ago

i dint get my answer...n i have exam tmrw.!!!....i wanna know that in the sentence--"we met a girl carrying a box"...wats tha gerund AND the participle...??....plzzzz temme....th difference in 1 sentence!

darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

I'm not doing your test.

Nickoli 6 years ago

I always thought that is was the other way around. This was very helpful. Thank you.

Ateeqa 6 years ago

Thanks a lot 4 such an awsum explanation...

Hatzzzz off!

guest 6 years ago


meena kalyan 6 years ago

thanks i think i have a bit more clarity of the concepts. will know how much from my test scores:) thanks anyway it wouldn't be your fault if I don't do well:)

Maddy 6 years ago

thank you! that was actually veryyyy helpful!

MaL 6 years ago

i don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ace 6 years ago


Me 6 years ago

dude that was a really good explanation!! hatz off!! :)

Mounika 6 years ago

Still i am confusing about the difference between Gerund and participle.So please give explanation clearly about those topics

GOPIKA 5 years ago


rko364 5 years ago

hey livelonger!jus wanted to say that i was swimming is not a participle......it ia a progressive verb!

socheat 5 years ago

it very interesting!

jojo 5 years ago

grammer is stoopid.

mahak 5 years ago

umm...a lil bit hlpful...no offence...:p....still....a fw more exmles culd hav dne it bttr...no offence

Sangram 5 years ago

cleared my one doubt but created 1000 more

rehanna 5 years ago

ammmmmmmmmmmmmm lil bit useful and hlpful

nabxx 5 years ago

i find it vry difficult to understand it

CelestialWizard 5 years ago

Let me get this straight...

Gerund:Flying is not impossible anymore.

Participle: The flying birds were shot by the hunter.

Right? ^_^

Missisipy 5 years ago

I don't get any of this stuff, it's confusing!! =@

Lee 5 years ago

Am jux as confused as any1 else

Neil azlo'k 4 years ago

Not so difficult

ALBERTA NOBBS 4 years ago

thanks a million!

4 years ago

Participle: "Working under a tight deadline, I mailed it promptly." (along action of "I")

Gerund: "Paul's company makes money by exporting goods."(object of "by")

Gerund: "My father hates to do the shopping."(object of "do")

rupi 4 years ago

tnkx a lot .......... i think my exam 'll be good than before

mahnoor fatima 4 years ago

i got VERY gud marks in ENGLISH GRAMMAR ...........thnx a lot... :)

shoaib jan 4 years ago

gerund just used as a noun but participle used as an adverb as an adjective

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