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gerund/participle

Can you please dwell on the functional and grammatical differences between the gerund and the participle (especially the use with the nouns in the possessive case and possessive pronouns and different meanings in such examples as swimming boy - swimming pool, walking man - walking stick, etc.)?
And please tell the source of the information whether it’s a grammar textbook or an article.

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language included this beautiful illustration of how a word shades from pure noun to pure verbal form

    [1] some paintings of Brown’s
    [[a] ‘some paintings that Brown owns’; or
    [b] ‘some paintings painted by Brown’]

    [2] Brown’s paintings of his daughters
    [[a] ‘paintings depicting his daughter and painted by him’; or
    [b] ‘paintings depicting his daughter and painted by someone else but owned by him’]

    [3] The painting of Brown is as skilful as that of Gainsborough.
    [[a] ‘Brown’s mode of painting’ or
    [b] ‘Brown’s action of painting’]

    [4] Brown’s deft painting of his daughter is a joy to watch.
    [‘It is a delight to watch while Brown deftly paints his daughter.’]

    [5] Brown’s deftly painting his daughter is a delight to watch.
    [= [3b] or [4] in meaning]

    [6] I dislike Brown’s painting his daughter.
    [‘I dislike either
    [a] the fact or
    [b] the way that Brown does it.’]

    [7] I dislike Brown painting his daughter (when she ought to be at school).
    [= [6a]]

    [8] I watched Brown painting his daughter.
    [[a] ‘I watched as Brown painted’; or
    [b] ‘I watched the process of Brown(‘s) painting his daughter.’]

    [9] Brown deftly painting his daughter is a joy to watch.
    [= [3a] or [4]]

    [10] Painting his daughter, Brown noticed that his hand was shaking.
    [‘while he was painting’]

    [11] Brown painting his daughter that day, I decided to go for a walk’
    [‘since Brown was painting’]

    [12] The man painting the girl is Brown.
    [‘who is painting’]

    [13] The silently painting man is Brown.
    [‘who is silently painting’]

    [14] Brown is painting his daughter.

    This grammar chooses not to use the terms gerund and participle.

    When other grammars use the term gerund, it's typically for uses like:

    [6] I dislike Brown’s painting his daughter.
    [7] I dislike Brown painting his daughter (when she ought to be at school).

    The use of possessive Brown's is no better and no worse than plain Brown nowadays. In the past it may have been considered more 'correct'.

    Both Brown's painting his daughter in [6] and Brown painting his daughter in [7] are DIRECT OBJECTS of I dislike. They have all the features of a CLAUSE — except that have no FINITE VERB FORM. For this reason, modern grammars term them NON-FINITE CLAUSES.

    The pair with NON_FINITE CLAUSe as SUBJECT

    [4] Brown’s deft painting of his daughter is a joy to watch.
    [‘It is a delight to watch while Brown deftly paints his daughter.’]

    [5] Brown’s deftly painting his daughter is a delight to watch.
    [= [3b] or [4] in meaning]

    are borderline. They can have the same meaning. And yet deft painting of his daughter in [4] is more noun-like than deftly painting his daughter in [5]. Is painting a gerund in [5]. Who cares?

    Nor do I see any point in asking whether painting is a gerund or an adjective-like participle in the pair

    [8] I watched Brown painting his daughter.
    [[a] ‘I watched as Brown painted’; or
    [b] ‘I watched the process of Brown(‘s) painting his daughter.’]

    [9] Brown deftly painting his daughter is a joy to watch.
    [= [3a] or [4]]

    Grammars that use the term participle will probably agree that it's the appropriate term for painting in [10]–[14].

    Pretty-well any grammar would agree that painting is a noun in [1]–[3].

    So, turning to your examples

    • Swimming is a noun in swimming pool and a verb form in swimming boy.
    • Walking is a noun in walking stick and a verb form in walking man.

    These verb forms definitely cannot be called gerunds. You may call them participles if you wish.

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