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The functions of the g. in the sentence

According to their functions in a sentence verb forms can be classified into finite and non-finite forms. The finite forms perform the function of the predicate/ The non-finite forms, also called verbals, do not express person, number or mood. They can perform various functions, except the simple verbal predicate. They include the infinitive, the gerund, the participle. Russian non-finite forms of the verb do not fully coincide with those in the English language (причастие, деепричастие, инфинитив).

All the verbals:

1) have double nature, nominal and verbal; 

2) the form of the v. shows only whether the action expressed by the v. is simultaneous with the action expressed by the finite verb or prior to it;

3) can be used:


in a phrase;

in a predicative construction. They consist of two elements, a nominal (noun or pronoun) and a verbal, the v. stands in predicate relation to the nominal element (similar to that of the subject and predicate);

The Gerund developed from the verbal noun, which in course of time became verbalized preserving at the same time its nominal character (по Каушанской, см. также Зеленщикова, Петрова). The g. is formed by adding the suffix –ing to the stem of the verb and coincides in the form with Participle I.

The Gerund can perform the functions of subject, object and predicative; can be preceded by a preposition; can be modified by a noun in the possessive case or by a possessive pronoun.

The gerund of transitive verbs can take a direct object; can be modified by an adverb; has tense distinctions:

the simple active g. writing

the simple passive g. being written

the perfect active g. having written

the perfect passive g. having being written;

With verbs admit, celebrate, deny, mention, recall can be found both simple g. and perfect g.

The g. can be used:

Singly: She continued standing there;

In a phrase: On seeing Bella he stopped;

In a predicative construction: I saw my daughters and their dogs playing around the tree.

The noun in such constructions can be expressed by a possessive pronoun (Mary’s, yours), noun in the common case (daughters, people), various other pronouns: all, that, both, each: He insisted on both of them going with him.

Gerundial predicative constructions perform a variety of nominal functions in sentences – subject, direct object, prepositional object, postpositional attribute, and adverbial modifier.


On the whole the g. is more often used at the beginning of a sentence than the infinitive: Waiting for him was a torture. In case if it follows the predicate the sentence opens with the introductory it or with the construction there is. It was great fun playing with you\ There is no denying his accuracy.


G. can easily function as subject-predicative Her only fun was playing guitar.


G. may be used as a direct and as a prepositional indirect object I simply love cooking\ He succeeded in boasting. Predicative constructions with the g. form a complex object as they consist of 2 distinct elements, nominal and verbal She will approve of your reading this book. (См. у Петровой с.264-268 – куча исключений)


In this function the g. is always preceded by a preposition of. Fairly often the g. modifies an abstract noun. He had a feeling of having been cheated.

Adverbial modifier:

In this function g. is also preceded by a preposition.

as an adv.m. of time g. follows the preps after, before, on, since. On has the same meaning as when, emphasizing that the first event is not completed but overlaps the second. On going to the university she stopped at the shop window.

As an adv.m. of manner the g. is used with by or in. She decided to stop the argument by turning her back to him.

In the function of an adv.m. of purpose, the g. is introduced by for. He used the mask for getting in the house.

 as an adv.m. of cause g. follows for fear of, owing to. He does not cook for fear of poisoning his guests.

As an adv.m. of concession the g. is introduced by in spite of and despite (more formal) In spite of being a diligent pupil he liked to play tricks.

When the g. is introduced by a prep without it is regarded either as an adv.m. of condition or as as adv.m. of attendant circumstances She sent him a letter without stating the address.

In all the functions we can find gerundial constructions, while a single gerund is rather rare.

Тhe Participle


Forms of the Participle

There are two participles in English — participle I (present or –ing participle) and participle II (past or ‑ed participle). The forms of participle I coincide with those of the gerund:

а) the simple (indefinite) active: reading;

b) the simple (indefinite) passive: being read;

с) the perfect active: having read;

d) the perfect passive: having been read.

Participle I perfect (both active and passive) is used when it is necessary to emphasize that the action expressed by the participle precedes the one expressed by the finite verb. Participle I perfect is mostly used to express temporal and causal relationships. Participle II of most verbs has only one form. If the verb is regular, we add ‑ed (-d) to the infinitive: workworked. Functions of the Participles


In this function we find both participle I indefinite (active or passive) and participle II.

Participle I as an attribute can modify nouns and some pronouns:

Those working have no time for that.

It can be used both in pre-position (when it precedes the noun) or in post-position (when it follows it). In pre-position, participle I is usually used singly:

She could not stand the blinding lights.

Participle I with accompanying words is widely used in post-position instead of an attributive clause:

People coming to see her could not believe their eyes. (= People who came...)

John, fishing next to Mike, caught a big fish. (= John, who was fishing...)


Adverbial Modifier

Participle I perfect is sometimes used in this function in written English when it is necessary to emphasize that the action expressed by the participle precedes the action expressed by the finite verb: Having finished his breakfast, he rushed out of the room.

On the whole, participle I indefinite is preferred when two actions take place at the same time: Walking past the shop, he noticed his reflection in the shop window, and also when one action follows the other: Leaping out of bed, he dressed very quickly.

Participle I as an adverbial modifier of time can be preceded by the conjunctions when and while.

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