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ING COMPLEMENTS One of the problems always present when discussing the Participle and the Gerund is the

fact that both of these moods have the same ending: -ing. This makes it sometimes difficult for us to differentiate between them. Due to this situation, we shall have to point out the specific features of each construction. Let us start with the Participle: 8.1. The Participle The first distinction to be made here is that between present participle and past participle. These are the tenses of this mood and they differ in point of ending: the present participle ends in –ing and makes the object of our discussion. The past participle ends in –en (or -ed) and will be marginally tackled in this section. Let us now see the main contexts where we can identify participial forms: 8.1.1. Participial Constructions The main context in which the present participle appears is when it is part of a continuous tense form: (1) Susan is sleeping. (Susan doarme.) In (1) the ing form that appears within the Present Continuous VP (verb phrase) is a present participle. This fact is also true of past participle forms and perfect or passive verb phrases: (2) a. Susan has come. (A venit Susan) b. Susan has been killed. In (2) the forms come, been and killed are past participle forms. A context where the present participle frequently appears is when it is combined with a noun phrase and has a modifying function, i.e. it functions attributively. Here we have two situations: a) when it appears before the noun in question: (3) The running man is my boss. (Omul care aleargă este şeful meu.) b) when it appears after the noun in question: (4) The man running on the track is my boss. (Omul care aleargă pe pistă este şeful meu.) As you can see in this second case, the participle may be accompanied by additional complements (on the track). This situation is also characteristic for past participles, especially when they are placed in front of the nominal and appear in compounds:


) The participle can also frequently appear as an adverbial and here we can notice two situations: a) when it has no expressed logical subject (7) a. God willing.) b. were closing. Arriving here.) d. blood-shot and painted. oamenii trebuie să fie atenţi la notele înalte.(5) His clean-shaved face was shining in the moonlight. This construction is called the Absolute Participle after the model of Latin where there is the Absolute Ablative – an elliptical construction made up of nouns and non-finite forms in the Ablative. (adverbial of time + time conjunction) (Atunci când cântă.) The logical subjects in (8) are God and weather. When singing.) c.) b) when it has an expressed logical subject : the Absolute Participle (8) a. ea o luă la fugă. I will arrive there on time. (adverbial of condition + conditional conjunction) (Dacă este provocat. which stands for an adverbial clause. too: (6) Her eye-lids. (adverbial of condition) (Cu voia lui Dumnezeu. a lion can attack. Nominative + Present / Past Participle (9) a. (adverbial of condition) (Se va căsători până la urmă cu ea dacă maică-sa îi dă voie. o să ajung la timp. Knowing who the guy was.) More infrequently.) ii. o să ajung la timp. If provoked. people should pay attention to high notes. (adverbial of reason) (Ştiind cine era el. he will eventually marry her.) b. they started singing. I found him stealing. (L-am descoperit furând.) 2 .) c. (Faţa lui bine bărbierită strălucea în lumina lunii. Weather permitting. (adverbial of condition) (Dacă vremea îmi permite. (adverbial of time) (Sosind aici. (10) Accusative + Present / Past Participle a. He was found stealing. (L-au descoperit că fură.) b. începură să cânte. (L-au găsit ucis de un glonte. mother permitting. The participle may also appear in the so-called independent participial constructions: i. the past participle can appear after a noun. respectively. Oh. she ran away. leul poate să atace. I will arrive there on time. He was found killed by a bullet. (I se închideau pleoapele injectate şi date cu fard.

behold.) b.: Imagine him saying a thing like that. (O să pună repede lucrurile în mişcare. I’ll have you all speaking fluent English soon. (L-au văzut acoperit de noroi din cap pâna în picioare.) • Causative verbs: get. find.) (14) b) Verbs requiring Nominative and Accusative + Past Participle • Verbs of physical perception: see.) b. They found him killed by a bullet. He’ll soon get things going. etc. she knew herself dismissed. watch. I must get my hair cut.b. smell. (Lovitura l-a trimis învârtindu-se. (O să vă fac să vorbiţi toţi curând o engleză bună. have. know.) c. make a. feel.) • verbs of mental perception: imagine. a. perceive (11) I felt her trembling. hear. You must get get that leg of yours taken care of. (Am simţit-o tremurând. set. command I ordered my bill made out.: (15) a.) (12) He was noticed crying.) (17) • verbs of permission. He was seen covered in mud from head to toe. etc.) (13) • mental perception verbs: remember. (Închipuieşte-ţi-l spunând una ca asta. etc. keep. send. hear. recollect. (18) 3 . have. start. (Am auzit spunându-se că bărbaţii sunt plicticoşi. I heard it said that men are a bore. (L-au găsit ucis de un glonte. leave. etc. (Trebuie să te duci la doctor să îţi îngrijeşti piciorul. recollect.) (16) • Causative verbs: get . notice.) Let us make up a list of verbs and adjectives that require the presence of the independent participial constructions: a) Verbs requiring Nominative and Accusative + Present Participle • Verbs of physical perception: see. (A fost văzut plângând. confess.) b.: When she heard his words. (Trebuie să mă duc să mă tund. (Când i-a auzit cuvintele şi-a dat seama că a concediat-o. He was sent rolling by the heavy blow.

function of the presence or absence of a logical subject within the gerundial structure.2. (După ce m-a remarcat profesorul. one can distinguish between: a) gerunds without an expressed logical subject: (24) PRO seeing is PRO believing.2. she enjoyed her trip to Spain. A Classification of Gerundial Forms We classify gerunds. the rain will stop.) (19) 8. Characteristics of Participial Forms The main property participles have – in opposition to gerundial forms – is the verbal quality of these structures. am plecat. A second differentiating feature is the frequency with which the participle appears as a modifier or as an adverbial. According to this criterion. am plecat.1. (Desi nu ştia limba. (Bărbaţilor le place să termine repede cu cumpărăturile. The only contexts in which the participle functions as an object is when it is part of the independent participial constructions (i.) 4 .) • Verbs of liking and disliking a. I left. I left. The participle lacks tense but exhibits: • aspectual features: (20) Having seen this. (Cu voia lui Dumnezeu.) b. a avut parte de o excursie plăcută în Spania. (Dacă vezi. He wanted his car fixed immediately. the participle has no nominal properties whatsoever. Men like shopping made easy. Unlike the gerund.) • Voice (can appear in the passive) (21) Having been noticed by the teacher.e.) 8.) • A conjunction to precede it optionally (23) Although not knowing the language. crezi.) • A nominative subject (in absolute participial constructions) (22) God willing. se va opri şi ploaia. (Dorea să-i fie reparată maşina imediat. (Văzând acestea. Nominative or Accusative + Participle). We shall enlarge upon this point in the section on gerunds.(I-am spus chelnerului să-mi aducă nota.2. The Gerund 8.1.

Consider the following table. How do we know that? Answer: By looking at the way these constructions agree with the main clause verbs when coordinated: • The possessive -ing in a compound subject agrees with the verb in the plural.) b. Likewise.) 8. (M-a surprins faptul că el a câştigat şi tu ai pierdut.2. His victory and your defeat were both surprising.2. Notice that part of the table is left incomplete. gerunds differ from participles. (M-au surprins în egală măsură victoria lui şi înfrângerea ta. + noun] [+noun] 5 . [+ verb] [+ verb. His winning and your losing were both surprising. (Venirea lui John aici a fost o greşeală. That he won and you lost was surprising. whereas gerunds have [ + verbal ] and [ + nominal ] features.) We call the first subclass of b) possessive ING because of the genitive form in which the logical subject appears. just as it happens with coordinated Subject that clauses: (28) a.) Coordinated accusative + ing requires a singular verb. Characteristics of Gerunds In the previous subsection on participles I was saying that participles have [+ verbal] features. The main difference lies in the fact that the accusative + ing is more like a clause whereas the possessive -ing looks more like a nominal. Him winning and you losing was surprising. the second subclass bears the name Accusative + ING due to the case of the logical subject within the gerund.) the half gerund (or the Accusative ING) It all depends on him coming here. If there are two possibilities with class b) it means that there must be some differences between them. just as it happens with any normal compound subject made up of two nominal phrases: (27) a. In that. where ING structures are ordered according to their main features. (M-a surprins faptul că el a câştigat şi tu ai pierdut.b) gerunds with an expressed logical subject: This class of gerunds can be further split into two subclasses: • the full gerund (or the possessive ING) (25) • (26) John’s coming here was a mistake. (M-a surprins faptul că el a câştigat şi tu ai pierdut.) b. (Totul depinde de venirea lui aici.

It was illegal to grow a beard. It’s no good talking to her. as being verbal in nature. An important characteristic of gerunds is that they do not normally extrapose (if you remember. It’s no use crying over spilt milk. (L-am văzut că zâmbeşte şi am fost surprins. extraposition is one of the main syntactic features that characterizes that clauses. In (31) extraposition is possible with infinitives but not with gerunds.) b. 6 . gerunds look more like noun phrases and are often translatable by means of a noun phrase: (30) His slapping Susan terrified the audience. Participles look more like clauses and more often than not are translated by means of a clause: (29) I saw him smiling and was surprised. *It was illegal growing a beard.) Unlike participles. (Nu era legal să-ţi laşi barbă. which are seen as [+ verb] structures): (31) a.) 2.Participles Gerunds ? Below we offer a few reasons why participles are seen as [+ verb]: 1. A conclusion to this discussion is represented under the table below. Consider (32). (proverb) (Mortul de la groapă nu se mai întoarce. (Faptul că a pălmuit-o pe Susan a îngrozit publicul.) b. This behaviour of gerunds concerning extraposition resembles that of relative clauses which are themselves very similar in behaviour to noun phrases. A similarity is thus drawn between that clauses and participles. and between relative clauses and gerunds as being more nominal in nature: That clauses Participles Relative clauses Gerunds There are very few exceptions to the extrapositon restriction under which gerunds are. (31 b) is ungrammatical because we get a double subject construction. which proves that extraposed relative clauses give birth to ungrammatical structures because of the double-subject restriction: (32) *It was illegal what she said. The examples we can offer are analysed as idiomatic phrases: (33) a.

Participles do not function as objects unless they appear in dependent constructions: I saw her crying. it would be very useful for us to have a look at differences between participles and gerunds. Participles vs.) 8. Participles can be part of tense forms: continuous . Gerunds After discussing the characteristics of gerunds. She waited for his coming home. The Verbal Noun Gerunds function as direct and prepositional objects: She started crying. The verbal noun is an ING form but is not part of non-finite forms: it is part of the nominal system. She was surprised at his knowing the business so well. Participles may function as attributes and are paraphrasable by who/that/which is…Verb + ing: the walking man = the man who is walking the flying fish = the fish which is flying 8. 2. babies suck their thumb. (adverbial of time) Gerunds do not function as adverbials with few exceptions: She angered him by stealing his project. (prepositional object clause) Gerunds may function as attributes but are paraphrasable by means of the preposition for: the walking stick = stick used for walking the flying saucer = saucer used for flying The verbal noun is here placed in opposition with the gerund. 4. Participles may be preceded by Gerunds may be preceded by prepositions: conjunctions: While sleeping. He looked at their wrestling on the muddy floor.2. as it is a noun phrase which just happens to look like a gerund or participle. passive ones She was crying. Just like in the case of noun phrases. (Uciderea celui care îi atacase era un episod urât. gerunds can be combined with Prepositions: (34) a.3. he built himself a house. + noun] 1. (Era uimită de cât de bine ştia el dedesubturile afacerii.3. (S-a uitat cum se lupta pe podeaua înnoroiată.(N-are sens să vorbeşti cu ea.) b. (Accusative + Participle) 5. (direct object clause) She was interested in him marrying her. Participles may function as adverbials: Coming here. perfect. as offered in the table below: PARTICIPLES GERUNDS [+ verb] [+ verb. 3.) 3.) 7 . But how can we tell when an ING form is a verbal noun? Compare: (35) The shooting of the attacker was an ugly episode.

GERUNDS can combine VERBAL NOUNS can with an adverb combine with an adjective Shuffling the cards quickly The quick shuffling of cards Sometimes the verbal noun can appear without its ‘of’ phrase: (37) His beautiful singing was a blessing to everyone. the attacker) . they differ formally: The first sentence contains a verbal (36) Shooting the attacker was an ugly episode. of the attacker) . + noun] [+noun] 8 .The possibility of its combination with an adverb: Shooting the attacker cruelly The problem with verbal nouns and gerunds is that they are both ended in ING and can take a possessive: George’s shooting of the attacker vs.The presence of the (i.e. This means that the first structure is a verbal noun while the second is a gerund.) Although the meaning of the two underlined structures is similar.e.The fact that the –ing form can be combined with an adjective: The cruel shooting of the attacker The second sentence contains a gerund due to : . Thus. George’s shooting the attacker.) In (37) there are two verbal nouns: his beautiful singing and a blessing. These are features that normally characterize any noun. the verbal noun blessing is accompanied by a determiner which is an indefinite article. In the second situation. we can identify the verbal noun by means of the adjective that accompanies it.The absence of an of phrase.e. (Faptul că ştia să cânte aşa de frumos era o binecuvântare. the determiner) .The presence of the of phrase (i. we could safely fill in the blank space with the following information: [+ verb] [+ verb. which can be identified by: .The absence of a determiner like the. (Uciderea celui care îi atacase era un episod urât. whereas the second structures takes an adverb: George’s shooting the attacker cruelly. The test that always helps you out of trouble is that of combining these constructions with an adjective or an adverbial: The first construction takes an adjective: George’s cruel shooting of the attacker. if we were to go back to our incomplete table. a . but the presence of a direct object (i. How can we tell? In the first case.

the infinitival form (a bare infinitive) – by opposition with the participle – suggests that we are watching the whole event of the crossing of the street (so the guy in the example has watched the entire crossing) Another example. for example.) The difference in meaning is well expressed by the Romanian translation and is motivated by what each form means: . we expect it to refer to something that might happen or that is going to take place. It has been noticed that.the –ing form ( a participle) expresses something still happening ( so the guy in the example is watching Susan as she advances across the street) . Jim left quietly. Gerunds Jim’s suddenly shooting the sheriff alerted the whole town. whenever we meet an –ing form. This shooting star is very large. the meaning is different. (S-a oprit să manânce un sandwich. They saw him shooting the sheriff. and the most well-known one. at the following: (38) He saw Susan crossing the street. However.4. 8. (A văzut-o pe Susan traversând strada. Look.) to (41) She stopped eating a sandwich. ING Forms and Infinitives. is that of the verb stop: Compare: (40) She stopped to eat a sandwich.Participles (After) shooting the sheriff. we can trace a common feature for all these special verbs. whenever a verb can appear both with an infinitive and with a gerund. (A văzut cum Susan a traversat strada. Are you still interested in shooting the sheriff? What is your opinion about the new shooting gallery? Verbal nouns Jim’s/the sudden shooting of the sheriff alerted the whole town. With the infinitive.) as opposed to (39) He saw Susan cross the street. 9 . The aim of this subsection is mainly to help you better understand why those verbs or adjectives that can be combined both with gerunds and with infinitives have a different meaning in each case. All of them change their meaning according to the grammatical information offered by the construction they are followed by. we expect it to have something to do with an event that has already happened (and then we are dealing with a gerund) or is happening (and we are looking at a participle). For instance.

forget (44) She remembers filling the tank with petrol. Let us now follow this line of thought which traces an opposition between the semantics of the gerund and that of the infinitive. anterior to the verb in the main clause. (Şi-aduce aminte că a umplut rezervorul cu benzină.e.) The example with the gerund suggests that the filling of the tank has already happened. the example with the infinitive suggests that the filling of the tank is going to happen. the infinitive expresses something that is yet to happen. verbs that can be followed both a gerund and an infinitive (but with a significant change in meaning): a) Remember.g. b) Regret (46) I regret filling the tank with petrol. but that’s it. We will examine other verbs like the ones we have already mentioned under (40) and (41).) The first example. suggests the fact that the eating of the sandwich is going to take place (the potential. having left) is infrequently used in English. we can notice that in most cases the gerund expresses something that has already happened.) versus (45) Remember to fill the tank with petrol.) After looking at this example. recollect. Compare (42) (43) She remembered having posted the letter earlier in the morning. The fact that both (42) and (43) have the same meaning indicates that the gerund no longer needs to specify anteriority by means of a perfect form (i.(S-a oprit din mâncat. The second example – containing a gerund – suggests the fact that the eating of the sandwich had already commenced and was then interrupted (the gerund expresses an event happening in the past.e. posterior to the verb in the main clause: while the gerund is past-oriented. (Şi-a amintit că a pus scrisoarea la poştă în cursul dimineţii. future-oriented value of the infinitive). having posted) since it already expresses the idea of anteriority in its simple form. prior to the one expressed by the main clause verb.) As you can see. 10 . This is why the perfect gerund is nowadays an indication of educated speech (and will be mostly found in literary language). which means that they are similar in meaning. (Adu-ţi aminte să umpli rezervorul cu benzină. (Îmi pare rău că am umplut rezervorul cu benzină. both sentences are translated the same in Romanian. i. This is exactly why the Perfect form of the gerund (e. containing an infinitive.) versus (47) I regret to fill the tank with petrol. the infinitive is futureoriented. On the other hand. She remembered posting the letter earlier in the morning.

) In the first example.) The example with the gerund suggests that the filling of the tank has already happened. e) need. (Casa trebuie reparată. the example with the infinitive suggests that the filling of the tank is going to happen. însă nu mi s-a părut treabă uşoară. these verbs are used in combination with the infinitive: (52) He wants / needs to learn English.) versus (49) I tried to fill the tank with petrol but found it no easy job. the event has not happened yet. c) Try (48) I tried filling the tank with petrol and then I did some car washing. dar asta este. The house needs repairing. mean has the sense signify. want With [+ human] objects. apoi m-am ocupat de spălarea maşinilor.) versus (51) This means revealing her all my secrets. d) Mean (50) I mean to tell her the truth. (Vrea / trebuie să înveţe engleză. (Întâi am încercat să mă ocup cu umplerea rezervorului cu benzină. the petrol tank is not filled yet. In the second example.) b. (Am de gând să-i spun adevărul.) With [. (Continuă să citească din romanul acela ieftin.) The first example implies the fact that the guy there has already filled the tank with petrol several times. (Casa trebuie reparată. they can be combined with the gerund and acquire the same interpretation as when they are followed by a passive infinitive: (51) a. it is bound to happen as a result of the subject’s intentions.human] objects.) 11 .(Îmi pare rău că o să umplu rezervorul cu benzină. The house needs to be repaired. (Asta înseamnă să-i dezvălui toate secretele mele. (Am încercat sî umplu rezervorul cu benzinî. the action is not completed.) f) go on (53) versus He goes on reading from that cheap novel. In the second example.

since paraphrase can correctly identify which is which. don’t forget that certain verbs can take both ING forms and infinitives after them – but the meaning changes according to the main shade of meaning each of the aforementioned constructions exhibits. s-a apucat să vorbească despre nunta fiicei sale. We made an important distinction between ING complements (which appear either as Present Participles or as Gerunds) and Verbal Nouns.) In the first case we understand that the event of reading has already begun. Key Concepts In this subsection we have dealt with ING forms. whereas gerunds function mainly as subjects/objects. 8. the event of becoming a lawyer is yet to happen. (După ce a vorbit despre planurile lui. whereas in the second case. 12 . Participles mainly function as adverbials.(54) After he talked about his plans he went on to talk about his daughter’s wedding. The common function these two structures share is that of attribute but the similarity is deceptive. The main test of disambiguation is that of combining the two forms with either an adverb (for the gerund) or an adjective (for the verbal noun). Another special feature is which elements these two structures can be preceded by: a preposition for gerunds and a conjunction for participles. The main difference between Present Participles and Gerunds lies in their special features.5. although one can mistake them due to the fact that both forms can combine with a possessive nominal. Last but not least. There are also important differences between gerunds and verbal nouns.