Gerund vs Participle: Difference and Comparison

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 help 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. A gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and functions as a noun.
  2. A participle is a verb form that can function as an adjective or noun ending in -ed, -en, or -ing.
  3. Gerunds are used to describe activities or actions, while participles are used to describe nouns.

Gerund vs Participle

The difference between gerunds and participles is that a gerund is a verb form that is used as a noun, 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 words ending with ‘ing’, but their applications and voice in a sentence are completely different.

Gerund vs Participle

Language Quiz

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What is the term used to describe the way words are put together to form sentences?

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Who is the person in charge at a high school?

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Choose the correct word: I think it's time to take a __________ from work.

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He drives quite ________, but his brother drives really ________.

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What is a word or phrase used to describe or evaluate, often in a literary, artistic, or musical context, called?

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Choose the word that is a synonym for "hasten":

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A gerund is a word that is formed from a verb that thus ends in -ing. As some of you may know, a verb refers to acts or stages of becoming, whereas a noun is a term that describes 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 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

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 present participles but are 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 favourite 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 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 to the end, they’re easy to detect. This rule does not have any exceptions.

Like all other grammatical elements, Gerunds need a little investigative effort to spot. The issue is that the present dangling modifier also ends with the characters ‘ing.

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 my 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 an adjective. 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 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 used as a verb only, but participles can 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 occur before the main verb, whereas a participle must be placed after the verb.
Difference Between Gerund and Participle

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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