Difference Between Gerund and Participle

As simple as it may sound, English sometimes gives us a hard time when we dig deep into the structural elements of this language. When we talk about English grammar, participles and gerunds are some famous figures around here.

However, colloquially we never face any difficulty regarding the understanding of these basic terms but, sometimes in our professional lives, we require the precision and accuracy of an eagle when it comes to grammatical constructions and writing an official letter to your subordinates and heads too!

So, to make English more fun and understand the differences and basic meaning of gerunds and participles, this article will focus on all the differences we need to know about these two components of grammar with suitable examples and a descriptive comparison table between the two.

Gerund vs Participle

The main difference between gerunds and participles is that a gerund is a verb form that is used as a noun, and while a participle is a colloquial term that is used as an adjective or even as a verb with conjugated or auxiliary verbs. Both the participles and gerunds are primarily derived from verbs that can be used even as a noun in the case of a gerund. Gerunds and participles (present participle for instance) have the words ending with ‘ing’, but their applications and voice in a sentence are completely different.

Gerund vs Participle

A gerund is a word that is formed from a verb that thus ends in -ing. A verb, as some of you may know, refers to acts or stages of becoming, whereas a noun is a term where we use to describe persons, locations, objects, and concepts.

A gerund is a word that combines forms of words. It seems to be a verb, yet it functions as a noun.

A gerund, for instance, is a term that means “to run.” Running can be used as a noun in a phrase to refer to the act of moving around on land, as in running is enthusiastic. Gerunds are considered third-person singular nouns in paragraphs.

A participle is a morphologically used verb form of a word that can be employed as an adjective, to produce the passive voice, or to establish the verb-subject.

Present participles are adjectives that always finish in -ing and present participles are reasonably similar to gerunds. They aid in the formation of progressive conjugating verbs.

Past participles are adjectives that finish in -ed or even other past continuous irregular verb suffixes. They also produce passive-active verbs when combined with the word to be.

Having is used with a past participle in perfect participles. Participial sentences are used to change the topic of a statement.

Comparison Table Between Gerund and Participle

Parameters of ComparisonGerundParticiple
DefinitionGerunds are noun-like phrases that are created using verbs.A participle is a V1+ing form that works with an auxiliary verb.
RelationGerunds are usually present participles but used as nouns.Some present participles are gerunds and other participles have different suffixes like -ed and -en.
TypesSubject gerunds and object gerunds.Present participles and past participles
FormsOnly nouns.Nouns, verbs and adjective forms.
ExamplesRunning is my passion.
Singing is my favorite hobby.
She wept since she fell asleep.
He is a skilled artisan.

What is Gerund?

Verbs give rise to gerunds. A gerund, on the other hand, is a verbal noun. It stands alone in the phrase as a term. Gerunds in English usually conclude in -ing (walking, thinking, sleeping).

Gerunds are nouns once more. They are self-contained. Because they exist independently, all are gerunds. “Walking is a fantastic way to get some fitness. My brain hurts when I think about numbers. Sleeping is something I enjoy doing.”

Gerunds are noun-like phrases that are created using verbs. Because every gerund is a verb with ing added on the end, they’re easy to detect. This rule does not have any exceptions.

Gerunds, like all other grammatical elements, need a little investigative effort to spot. The issue is that present dangling modifiers end with the characters ‘ing’ as well.

You should be able to distinguish between a gerund and a present participle in addition to recognizing gerunds.

Understand how gerunds are verb-derived phrases that function as nouns. Present participles will not have the same function as nouns. They serve as modifications or complete progressing verbs rather.

Simply seek for a verb + ing that is employed as a noun to locate gerunds in phrases. That’s all there is to it.

Some examples of gerunds usage in sentences are;

  1. Walking has always been a passion of Rahul.
  2. The athlete taught us racing.
  3. Nikita is excited about snowboarding.
  4. Talking is his forte.

What is Participle?

A verbal descriptor is a participle. It should also identify anything else in the phrase as adjectives. Participles in English finish with -en (Eaten), -ed (skilled), -t (wept), or -ing (thinking).

The -ing ending can be used to signify a gerund or a participle. The best method to tell if a -ing word is a gerund (noun) or even a participle (adjective) is to see if it mentions that instead.

All of them are participles, indicating that they refer to something else: “Yesterday I went out and got some walking boots. Put on your critical thinking glasses! Sleeping medications are extremely harmful to your health.”

Non-ing participles are simple to spot since they describe additional words and are derived from verbs.

In English, a participle is a morphological verb with either V1+ing or V3 form that can be used as an adjective or a verb in a statement. In English, there will be two kinds of participles: present participle and past participle.

A participle can follow the appropriate places: before a noun, After a noun, and Just after the main verb can be an auxiliary verb.

Both gerunds and participles have an identical appearance; they also are a verb’s indicative form in both cases.

You may not even be able to distinguish just by looking at them, but if you understand how they work, there is no confusion since they are miles apart.

There are some terms and phrases that are called participle phrases. Participial phrases are variations coupled with other words or phrases that serve as adjectives.

Participle phrases possess a platform for the objects of sentences, but they can also modify other nouns.

Main Differences Between Gerund and Participle

  1. A gerund is a present participle that functions as a noun whereas a participle is a form of a verb that works as an adjective.
  2. All gerunds are always present participles in V1+ing form whereas the definite type of present participle can only be a gerund.
  3. A gerund is often used as a verb only but participles have the flexibility to be used both as nouns and verbs in colloquial linguistics reference only.
  4. Two types of gerunds are subject and object gerunds whereas two types of participles are present and past participles.
  5. A gerund can take place before the main verb whereas a participle has to be placed after the verb.
Difference Between Gerund and Participle


A gerund and a participle may appear to be quite identical, yet they are not. A gerund is a verbal, or non-verbal, verb form that ends in -ing and serves as a noun in a phrase.

Cycling, for instance, is one of my favorite pastimes. The action is in this phrase, and the subject is ‘cycling’ which functions as a noun.

In contrast to gerunds, participles can conclude in -ing, have multiple endings, and seem to be adjectives. The ends of present and past participles can be used on participants.

Like gerunds, the present participle ends in -ing, but the past tense endings are much more varied, comprising -ed, -d, -en, and -t.


  1. https://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/nouns/gerunds/
  2. https://opjsrgh.in/Content/Worksheet/PRACTICE-WS/day96/8-ENG.pdf
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