Part of speech of 'swimming'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by britneyM, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. britneyM Banned

    Japan Japanese
    What is the part of speech of 'swimming' in the following sentences, s1 to s4.
    Are they gerunds or present participles?

    s1: He denied swimming.
    s2: He enjoyed swimming.
    s3: He remembered Meg swimming.
    s4: He stopped Meg swimming.

    Thank you.
  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Hello britneyM

    Please give your answers first so that we know where your misunderstandings might be.
  3. britneyM Banned

    Japan Japanese
    About s1 and s2
    My textbook says s1 and s2 are gerunds. But I think they are present participles. It is much easier for me to understand the meaning of the sentences if I think they are present participles, not gerunds. Their meanings I imagine are as follows:
    I think the meaning of s1 is m1 or m2, and m1 and m2 are close.
    m1: He denied the fact that he was swimming.
    m2: He denied the fact that he swam.
    I think the meaning of s2is m3 or m4, and m3 and m4 are close.
    m3: He enjoyed the fact that he was swimming.
    m4: He enjoyed the fact that he swam.

    I think m1 and m2 are close or almost the same and 'swimming' in s1 is a present participle because 'swimming' in m1 is the same as 'swimming' in s1.

    I don't understand why they are gerunds.

    About s3 and s4
    My textbook says nothing about s3 and s4. I think maybe they are present participles but am not sure.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  4. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hello britneyM

    s1: He denied swimming. He denied stealing. He denied sleeping while at work.
    s2: He enjoyed swimming. He enjoyed eating. He enjoyed riding on a horse.
    All of the words ending in "ing" in these sentences are gerunds, or verbal forms that act as nouns.

    What did he enjoy? He [subject] enjoyed [verb] ____ing.[object].
  5. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Just to add to what cuchu has written: you can do a test to see whether it is a present participle or gerund:
    if you can replace the ing form with a noun it is a gerund then. For instance:
    He enjoyed reading.
    you can try to replace eating with books:
    He enjoyed books.

  6. britneyM Banned

    Japan Japanese
    Are s3 and s4 present participles?
  7. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    I suspect that s3 is incorrect, and that it should be "he remembered Meg's swimming", just as one might say "I loved Fred Astaire's dancing".

    If one corrects the sentence that way, it is a gerund.

    s4 is ambiguous -- who was swimming, the man, or Meg? If the man was swimming when he stopped Meg, then it is a present participle. If Meg, while swimming, was stopped by the man, then it is also a present participle. However, if the sentence (as I suspect) is really supposed to mean "He stopped Meg from swimming", or "He stopped Meg's swimming" (that is, he did not allow Meg to swim), it is a gerund.
  8. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    s3 may be correct as presented. Without context it is hard to be sure.

    He thought back to the events of the afternoon. He remembered Meg sitting on the beach. He remembered Meg swimming. He recalled that she was shivering when she came out of the water.
  9. Unknoewn13 Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English - American
    I agree with GreenWhiteBlue; you would need the " 's " to show possession since gerunds act as nouns.

    Present participles are usually in the form of "to be + present participle," although they could be in different forms.

    Present participles:

    I was swimming.
    He is eating.
    They will be running.
    She wants to be driving.

    An exception would be something like: "She came running around the corner." As Thomas1 says, "running" can't be replaced with any nouns, and thus it is acting as a participle.

    All gerunds are in noun form:

    The knocking was driving me crazy. <--- in this case, "knocking" is a gerund, while "driving" is a present participle.

    Her writing was very poor.

    Paul's learning always comes first.

    This is a tricky one:

    Getting out of bed can be hard for some. <--- in this one, you cannot replace "getting" with a noun, so it may seem that it is acting as a verb (which it is), but it is really a gerund because the whole phrase "Getting out of bed" is the subject (noun) of the sentence, and the verb is "can."
  10. MIODRAG Banned

    none -- all languages I use are equally "foreign" to me
    He denied stealing (gerund) Vs. He denied, shaking (participle).
  11. britneyM Banned

    Japan Japanese
    Hello, timpeac, cuchuflete, Thomas1, GreenWhiteBlue, Unknoewn13, MIODRAG,

    Thank you very much for your detailed, precise, and warm replies.
    I nderstand very well and also noticed many things other thah what I wanted to know at first through your replies.

    I'm sincerely grateful for all your kind helps.
    Thank you.

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