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

Updated on July 21, 2009

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.


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      shoaib jan 4 years ago

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

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      mahnoor fatima 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      rupi 5 years ago

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

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      5 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")

    • profile image

      ALBERTA NOBBS 5 years ago

      thanks a million!

    • profile image

      Neil azlo'k 5 years ago

      Not so difficult

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      Lee 5 years ago

      Am jux as confused as any1 else

    • profile image

      Missisipy 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      CelestialWizard 6 years ago

      Let me get this straight...

      Gerund:Flying is not impossible anymore.

      Participle: The flying birds were shot by the hunter.

      Right? ^_^

    • profile image

      nabxx 6 years ago

      i find it vry difficult to understand it

    • profile image

      rehanna 6 years ago

      ammmmmmmmmmmmmm lil bit useful and hlpful

    • profile image

      Sangram 6 years ago

      cleared my one doubt but created 1000 more

    • profile image

      mahak 6 years ago

      umm...a lil bit offence...:p....still....a fw more exmles culd hav dne it offence

    • profile image

      jojo 6 years ago

      grammer is stoopid.

    • profile image

      socheat 6 years ago

      it very interesting!

    • profile image

      rko364 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      GOPIKA 6 years ago


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      Mounika 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Me 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Ace 7 years ago


    • profile image

      MaL 7 years ago

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


    • profile image

      Maddy 7 years ago

      thank you! that was actually veryyyy helpful!

    • profile image

      meena kalyan 7 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:)

    • profile image

      guest 7 years ago


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      Ateeqa 7 years ago

      Thanks a lot 4 such an awsum explanation...

      Hatzzzz off!

    • profile image

      Nickoli 7 years ago

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

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 7 years ago from Australia

      I'm not doing your test.

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      koko 7 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 difference in 1 sentence!

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      LostInEnglish 8 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."

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      rubab 8 years ago

      its really proving helpful for me

    • profile image

      poonam 8 years ago

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

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      = ) 8 years ago

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

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      LissieLin 8 years ago

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

    • Sodasound profile image

      Sodasound 8 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.

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      Shida Pastol 9 years ago

      ThanK U Vory Moch

    • Veronica profile image

      Veronica 10 years ago from NY

      YOUR doing that. Very funny.

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

      Have a wonderful holiday!

    • darkside profile image

      Glen 10 years ago from Australia

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

      I approve of you doing that? :D

    • Veronica profile image

      Veronica 10 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)

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 10 years ago from San Francisco

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