There are four verbals in contemporary English. They are: the infinitive, the participle, the gerund, the verbal noun.
The Infinitive is a verbal which expresses an action or a state in a general way.
The infinitive took its origin from the verbal noun, which in the course of its development became verbalized, retaining some of its nominal character. Thus in contemporary English the infinitive has double nature: that of the noun and that of the verb
The nominal character of the infinitive is observed in its syntactic functions. As a noun, the infinitive can be used in the functions of (a) the subject, (b) the predicative and (c) the object.
- To live is to struggle.
- To decide is to act.
- The child has learned to write early in his childhood.
The verbal character of the infinitive is denoted in the fact that the
infinitive of a transitive verb can take (a) direct object (b), can be modified by an adverb, has (c) tense-aspect, and (d) voice distinctions:
- I began to feel anxiety.
- The child cannot go quickly.
- To write, to be writing, to have written
- To write, to be written.
The tense and aspect distinctions of the infinitive are not absolute but relative.
In contemporary English the infinitive has four forms: 1. the indefinite infinitive, 2. the continuous infinitive, 3. the perfect infinitive, 4. the perfect continuous infinitive.
- The indefinite infinitive expresses an action simultaneous with the action of the finite verb, so it may refer to (a) pure present, (b) past or (c) future depending on the tense of the finite verb in the sentence.
- I am glad to see you.
- I was glad to meet an old friend of mine yesterday.
- I’ll be very glad to see you tomorrow.
- The continuous infinitive also denotes an action simultaneous with that expressed by the finite verb, but it is an action in progress.
Her lips moved; she seemed to be saying: “I love you” They seemed to be listening attentively.
- The perfect infinitive shows that the action expressed by the in infinitive precedes the action indicated by the finite form of the verb.
- I m glad to have seen you again. 1 am very glad to have taken your advice.
- When a perfect infinitive is associated with a modal verb, the infinitive indicates:
1) that the action took place in the past; then the infinitive has the meaning of a past indefinite.
Why did he go away so early last night? He may have been ill (perhaps he was ill). She must have been very tired if she went to bed so early (probably she was very tired).
2) the infinitive denotes that the action is accomplished at a given moment and is viewed from that moment; then it has the meaning of a present perfect or past perfect.
Why don’t they come? They may not have arrived yet (perhaps they have not yet arrived). Let me continue our work in the garden, it must have stopped snowing (probably it has stopped snowing). She must have laid the table before the guests came (certainly she had laid the table before the guests came).
- The perfect continuous form of the infinitive shows the anterior duration of an action still going on; it is equivalent to a present or past perfect continuous.
- For about ten days they seemed to have been working without a moment s rest.
- The children must have been walking for three hours; let them have a rest (probably the children have been walking for three hours…).
- For about ten days the travellers must have been living on nothing, but bread and cheese (probably the travellers had been living).
- After the past tense of the verbs expressing hope, expectation, intention, the perfect infinitive is used to show that the action was not earned out.
- I thought/intended to have sent a letter to her.
- They expected the delegation to have been here before five o’clock.
- He hoped to have seen her.
The infinitive of transitive verbs has voice distinctions.
Active: to send, to have sent
Passive: to he sent, to have been sent
I want you to give me a piece of advice (active infinitive).
There is only one problem to be settled, (passive infinitive)
As a finite verb, the infinitive may have an object.
I decided to stay at home. He meant to have gone there. I am sorry to keep you so late.
The Particle to as a Morphological Sign of the Infinitive
Formally to was a preposition, which was used before the infinitive (then a noun in the dative case) to indicate direction or purpose. In the course of its development to lost its meaning of direction or purpose and became merely the morphological sign of the infinitive So in contemporary English the infinitive is usually preceded by the particle to to read, to write, to look, to translate, to come, to go, etc.
Note: But it should be mentioned that it, i.e. the infinitive, has preserved its old meaning of purpose as in the following sentences: l like to read I went to the library to read They went to Istanbul – They went to Istanbul to study.
But in the following cases the infinitive is used without the particle to.
1) after the auxiliary and modal verbs (a) shall, (b) will, (c) do, (d) can, may, must.
- I shall go home immediately.
- He will finish his work soon.
- Do you speak French?
- She can speak English well. All the workers must be present at the meeting. You may use my dictionary; if you need it.
2) after some verbs expressing physical perceptions, such as:
(a) to hear, (b ) see, (c) to feel, (d) to perceive
- l heard a nightingale sing
- He saw somebody enter the garden.
- I felt something crawl up my arm.
- He perceived somebody stand behind him.
(3) after the verbs (a) to watch, (b) to notice, (c) to observe, (d) to let, (e) to make (məcbur etmək), (f) to bid.
- She watched the children cross the road.
- I noticed him leave his home early.
- We observed her hurry off.
- Let the children go to the beach.
- He made her leave the room.
- She made me stop talking.
(4) after the verb to know in the sense of to experience, to observe. Example:
I have never known him tell a lie. after the following expressions: (a) had better, (b) had best, (c) would have, (d) would rather, (e) cannot but.
- You had better stay at home.
- She had best leave the room.
- We would better take shelter.
- He would rather not go.
- 1 cannot but agree with you.
(6) in special questions beginning with why.
Why not go to the seaside?
Why not tell them the truth?
Why not speak frankly?
Note: After the verb to help the infinitive can be used (a) with or (b) without the particle to.
- I helped the lady to cross the street.
- I helped the old lady cross the street.
Additional information on the use of the particle to
1) When there are several infinitives with the same or similar function, the particle to is used only before the first one.
I decided to go and visit my aunt.
They made up their mind to drop in a restaurant and have dinner there.
But if emphasis or contrast is intended, the particle to is used before each infinitive.
To he or not to he that is the question (Shakespeare). I want to go and to help my friend.
2) In colloquial speech the particle to is often used without the infinitive if the latter is clearly understood from the preceding context. Examples:
l told her to buy some milk hut she forgot to You can rest if you want to.
You must come and have dinner with me.
– ‘Thank you, uncle Jolyon, I should like to. (Galsworthy).
In certain cases the participle to is separated from the infinitive by an adverb. This construction is called a “Split Infinitive”.
They were seen to just touch each other s hands (Galsworthy). He was unable, however, to long keep silence. (Galsworthy).
The Subjective and the Objective Infinitive
If the action expressed by the infinitive refers to the subject of the sentence, it is called (a) the subjective infinitive, but in case when the action expressed by the infinitive refers to the object, it is called (b) the objective infinitive.
(a) He promised to obey and went upstairs immediately. I am very glad to see you again safe and sound.
(b) I want you to give me some information about the situation. She made me sit in one of the comfortable chairs close to the fire-place.
Functions of the Infinitive in the Sentence
The infinitive may have different syntactic functions in the sentence They are the following:
1) the function of the subject.
To live means to create, to go forward constantly. To hear the wind getting up stronger and stronger outside was simply dangerous.
When the subject of the sentence is expressed by an infinitive phrase, it is usually placed after the predicative. Then the sentence begins with anticipatory it.
It was impossible to help him that day.
It is pleasant to have fresh flowers in the room.
2) in the function of the predicative.
My next step was to have a talk with the manager.
Her greatest joy was to receive letters and to write long replies.
3) in the function of the part of a compound verbal predicate. Examples:
She must go there immediately or not at all. I ought to consult a doctor. You had better go to bed. He used to play football in his boyhood. The rain began to cease.
4) in the function of the object.
Mother taught her child to sit up at the table. Will you allow me to see you again ? They helped us to finish the work in time.
I was always sorry to hear they had divorced.
5) in the function of the attribute Examples:
He was always the first to meet me at the gate. I have bought you some newspapers to he read on the journey. We have no time to lose. It is the only chance not to be missed. She was the only woman to see me off.
6) in the function adverbial modifier:
- a) of purpose
1 have bought some English novels to read The window was partly open to admit air. Young Jolyon rose and held his hand to help his father, old Jolyon. (Galsworthy).
- b) of result or consequence, especially when the demonstrative pronoun (a) such or the adverbs (b) enough, (c) too are used in the sentence.
- It was such a boring speech to hear. The pain in his foot wasn’t such as to stop his walking. The instructions weren’t clear enough for me to understand
- The rest of the conversation is not important enough to he related here.
- John was too busy to receive us. I was too tired to continue my work.
7) in the function of parenthesis.
To speak the truth, I have been a little troubled.
To cut a long story short, I don’t know such a person at all.
To say frankly, I can agree with you.
There are the following infinitive constructions in contemporary English.
- The Objective with the Infinitive Construction;
- The Subjective with the Infinitive Construction;
- The for-to-lnfinitive Construction.
- The Objective with the Infinitive Construction
The Objective with the Infinitive construction is a construction which consists of an infinitive and a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case, such as:
I see a man (him) work
The relation between the noun (or pronoun) and the infinitive is similar to that of sub ject and predicate. Accordingly the infinitive may be called ‘a secondary predicate’ and the noun (or pronoun) a ‘secondary subject’. Thus in the sentence ‘I see a man (him) work’ two things are stated: the first predication is made about the subject of the sentence I and is expressed by the predicate of the sentence see, a verb in the finite form; the second predication refers to the object of the sentence a man (him) and is expressed by a secondary predicate – the infinitive work.
The two parts – a man and work – are closely connected and form one syntactic unit a complex object. What I see is not simply a man hut a man in the process of working. This construction is called “Objective with the Infinitive construction” in contemporary English.
The Objective with the Infinitive Construction is used:
1) after verbs expressing sense perception, such as:
(a) to hear, (b) to feel, (c) to see, (d) to watch, (e) to observe, (f) to notice
- Did you hear him go out?
- I felt somebody stand behind me.
- saw his brother’s face change (Galsworthy).
- They watched the sun set behind the trees.
- The police observed the man enter the bank.
- Did he notice me leave the house?
2) after verbs expressing permission, request, intention, order, compulsion, such as: (a) to allow, (b) to permit, (c) to let, (d) to order, (e) to force, (f) to make, etc.
- We allowed the children to go to the beach.
- Don’t permit the children to play in the street.
- I let the hoys go home.
- The officer ordered the soldiers to fire,
- The policeman forced the thief to give up his arm.
- They made me leave the room immediately.
(3) after verbs expressing liking or disliking, such as: (a) to want, (b) to wish, (c) to desire, (d) to like, (e) to hate, etc.
- Do you want me to wait for you at the bus-stop?
- I wish you to return home soon.
- She desires me to stay with her.
- /‘d like him to return home as soon as possible.
- I hate people to take advantage of me.
4) after verbs denoting mental activity, such as: (a) to know, (b) to think, (c) to consider, (d) to believe, (e) to expect, etc. Examples:
- I know you to he an honest man.
- We thought the hoy to be diligent.
- Everybody considers him to he a famous scientist.
- The judge believed him to he guilty.
- We expected her to come by the night train.
Note: The use of the Objective with the Infinitive Construction after most verbs of mental activity is more characteristic of literary than of colloquial style. The Objective with the Infinitive Construction is rendered into Azerbaijani by means of either (a) object clause or (b) by means of the noun (pronoun) in the accusative (tasirlik) case and participial phrase.
I saw the girl (her) cross the bridge. – Mən gördüm ki qız körpünü keçdi. Mən qızın körpünü keçdiyini gördüm.
2. The Subjective with the Infinitive Construction Definition:
The construction which consists of an infinitive and the subject expressed by a noun in the common or a pronoun in the nominative case is traditionally called ‘Subjective with the Infinitive Construction such as:
The child was seen to play.
In such constructions, though the noun (or pronoun) and the infinitive do not stand together, they are closely connected and form one syntactic unit – a complex subject. The relation between the noun (or pronoun) is that of a secondary subject and secondary predicate. So in the sentence: The child wa seen to cross the street. The child… to cross the street is a complex subject to the predicate was seen. What was seen is the child in the action of crossing the street.
The Subjective with the Infinitive construction is used:
- after verbs expressing permission, request, intention and compulsion, such as:
(a) to allow, (b) to permit, (c) to order, (d) to command, (e) to force, (f) to make, (g) to request, etc.
- The students are allowed to use all the books.
- The children were permitted to play in the garden.
- They were ordered to enter the hall.
- The soldiers were commanded to fire.
- The child was forced to eat his dinner.
- The students were made to read all the recommended books.
- They were requested to be ready by six o ‘clock a m.
- after verbs expressing sense perception, such as: (a) hear, (b) to see, (c) to notice,
- She was heard to shut the door
- The soldiers were seen to leave their position
- A thief was noticed to enter the room
- after verbs of mental perception, such as. (a) to know, (b) to believe, (c) to expect, (d) to deny,
- Philip Liosinney was known to he a young man without fortune. (Galsworthy)
- He was believed to have a bedroom at the back (Galsworthy>)
- The delegation was expected to arrive soon.
- They were denied to access to the information
- after verbs of saying and reporting, such as: (a) to say, (b) Examples:
- These islands are said to have been discovered by an old
- The drivers are reported to have started their trip early in the morning.
- after verbs, such as: (a) to seem, (b) to appear, (c) to happen, (d) to prove and the expression (e) to be sure. Mere the predicate verb is in the active voice. pf’
- This morning’s sunshine faded amid slow-gathering clouds, but something of its light seems still to linger in the air.
- He appears to be very strong.
- I just happened to be passing, so 1 dropped in. (Gordon)
- This book will prove to be interesting
- He is sure to go to Istanbul soon.
In Azerbaijani Subjective with the Infinitive Construction is usually rendered by the indefinite personal sentence, such as – deyiblər ki, məlumat veriblər ki
He is said to be back from London. – Deyirlər ki o Londona qayıdıb.
The delegation is reported to have arrived in Baki. – Məlumat verirlər ki nümayəndə heyəti Bakıya çatıb.
3. The for-to-Infmitive Construction Definition:
The for-to-infinitive construction is a construction in which the infinitive is in predicate relation to a noun or pronoun preceded by the preposition for
She watched impatiently for him to go. I had to wait for the moon to rise.
This construction can be used in different functions in the sentence. It can be:
1) a complex subject of the sentence. In this case the sentence usually begins with the introductory it;
- It is necessary for us to start immediately.
- It was important for the travelers /for them to learn.
- English before going to England.
Note: Occasionally the subject can be placed at the head of the sentence, i.e. instead of saying It is necessary for me to go there now, we can say To go there is necessary for me now.
2) a complex predicative.
Now the best thing will be for me to leave this place.
That is for you to decide, isn’t it?
3) a complex object;
She had to wait for the taxi to come.
I watched impatiently for him to go.
4) a complex attribute;
There was some beer for him to drink.
There is nobody here for me to play chess with.
5) a complex adverbial modifier:
- Of purpose:
I stepped aside for the young lady to pass.
He spread a rug for his wife to sit on.
- of result:
Some days are enough for me to translate this passage.
My home is not too far for anyone to visit me.
The Participle is a verbal having adjectival, adverbial and verbal features.
There are two participles in English: Participle I (the Present Participle) and Participle II (the Past Participle).
As an adjective the participle is connected with a noun-word in the sentence, either as (a) an attribute or as (b) a predicative. Examples:
- The singing girl is my sister. The faded rose will soon die.
- He fell thoroughly disappointed She seemed surprised.
The Participle has a verbal and an adjectival or adverbial character.
The adjectival and adverbial character of the participle is manifested in its syntactic functions: as an adjective, the participle may be used a) in the function of the attribute, but as an adverb it may be used b) in the function of the adverbial modifier.
- The broken cup is under the table. The playing children are our neighbours. The sleeping child is my brother. The wounded soldiers were immediately taken to the nearest hospital.
- My father was away, having gone for his holiday. When left to himself he spent his time at his desk.
The verbal characteristics of the participle are as follows:
1) participle I of a transitive verb can take a direct object.
Taking all his documents, he left the room.
Opening the door, she entered the room.
2) the participle can be modified by an adverb.
Leaving the room hurriedly she ran out.
Deeply surprised, he couldn’t say a word.
3) participle I has tense and voice distinctions.
1. Tense Distinctions of the Participle
The tense of the participle, like other verbals, is not absolute, but relative: Participle 1 Indefinite Active (writing) and Passive (being written) usually denotes an action simultaneous with the action expressed by the finite verb. Depending upon the tense-form of the finite verb it (the action) may refer to (a) the present, (b) past or (c) future. Examples:
- When reading Sabir s poems, one can’t help laughing.
- When reading Sabir s poems I couldn’t help laughing.
- When reading Sabir s poems you will roar with laughter. Participle I Perfect Active and Passive denotes an action prior to the action expressed by the finite form of the verb.
Having written the letter he went to the post-office.
Having washed his hands, he began to eat his dinner.
Note: It should be earned in mind that a prior action is not always expressed by Participle / Perfect: with some verbs of sense perception and motion, such as to see, to hear, to come, to arrive, to look, to turn. etc. Participle I Indefinite is used even when a prior action is spoken about.
Hearing a knock at the door, she went to open it.
Turning the comer, he entered a baker’s to buy some bread.
Entering the room. the boy took off his coal and cap.
Seeing me in the street, a friend of mine greeted me.
Participle II has no tense distinctions; it has only one form which can express both (a) a simultaneous and (b) prior actions to the action expressed by the finite verb.
- a) His eyes fixed on me with a certain surprise at last obliged me to put him a cjueslion.
- b) He told me of the portrait seen in the museum.
In some cases Participle II denotes an action referring to no particular time.
She is a woman loved and admired by every gentleman.
- Voice Distinctions of the Participle
“Participle I of a transitive verb has special forms to denote the active and the passive voice, such as:
Active voice: cooking, having cooked.
Passive voice: being cooked, having been cooked
a broken cup, a written letter.
Participle II of transitive verbs has a passive meaning in itself, such as:
Active: When cooking she doesn’t like to be disturbed.
I Having cooked the dinner, she left the kitchen.
Passive. Being cooked long ago, the dinner was cold.
Having been cooked the dinner was served immediately.
Participle II of transitive verbs has no passive meaning; it is used in compound tense forms and has no independent function in the sentence.
Functions of Participle I in the Sentence
In contemporary English Participle 1 may be used in the following syntactic functions:
1) in the function of an attribute.
The wall surrounding our yard was painted last year.
The coming man is our English teacher.
2) in the functions of different adverbial modifiers:
- of time;
Crossing the street I met an old friend of mine. Having arrived at
the railway station the delegation was greeted warmly.
- of cause:
Being late he missed his plane. Having been ill, he couldn’t attend the lecture.
- of manner;
Tom went upstairs counting the staircases. The woman left the room crying bitterly.
- of attending circumstances;
I was sitting in a comfortable armchair watching TV The old man was standing at the fire-place smoking a pipe.
- of comparison;
In this function Participle 1 is introduced by the conjunctions (a) as if or (b) as though Examples:
- a) He looked as if being seriously ill.
- b) He turned and looked at him as though knowing
3) in the function of the predicative
I he appearance of the murderer wav terrifying Their cold reception w humilating
Note In this finction Participle l is used but seldom.
4) Participle I can also be used as part of a complex subject.
She was seen crossing the street hurriedly. The girls were heard singing a new pop song.
5) Participle I can also be used as part of a complex object Examples:
I heard somebody opening the back door. We save the hunters leaving the village at dawn.
6) Participle I can be used in the function of parenthesis.
Generally speaking, I don’t like your behaviour. Openly saying, he doesn’t agree with the idea of your going to Paris now. Judging by appearances, this man is not a trustworthy person.
Functions of Participle II in the Sentence
In contemporary English Participle II can be used in the following functions:
1) as an attribute:
The frozen ground was hard as stone. (Dodge). The faded flowers were thrown out. There is no use keeping broken vase.
2) as a part of a complex object .
The dog heard his name pronounced through the opened door. I found him unchanged
3) nan adverbial modifier:
- a) of time, preceding conjunctions when, while.
When questioned, he was very anxious and could not say anything. While asked, he paid no attention to anybody.
- b) of condition:
If discovered, the crime Mould bring them into the police court.
- c) of comparison:
He shook his head as though lost in admiration and wonder.
- e) of concession:
My spirit, though crushed, was not broken. Although lost in despair, he did his best to go on \vorking.
In contemporary English there exist the following participial constructions:
the Objective Participial Construction
the Subjective Participial Construction
the Nominative Absolute Participial Construction
the Prepositional Absolute Participial Construction
- The Objective Participial Construction Definition:
The Objective Participial Construction is a morphological unit in which the participle is in predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case, such as:
I saw the children (them) playing in the yard.
In this sentence the participle playing is in predicate relation to the noun children or to the pronoun them, which denotes the doer of the action expressed by the participle playing In the sentence this construction has the function of a complex object, and therefore the answer to the question:
What did I see? will be: I saw the children playing, but not the children alone.
This construction usually corresponds to (a) either an object subordinate clause or (b) to feli bağlama in Azerbaijani, such as:
I saw the children playing in the garden.
|(a) Mən gördüm ki uşaqlar bağda oynayırlar.
(b) Mən uşaxların bağda oynadığını gördüm.
The Objective Participial Construction may be used:
1) after the verbs denoting sense perception, such as:
(a) to see, (b) to hear, (c) to feel, (d) to find. etc.
- a) He looked round, and saw a man coming after him.
- b) l heard my cousin following me.
- c) She felt the child’s temperature falling T
- d) You will probably find your sister grown
2) after some verbs denoting mental activity, such as:
(a)to understand, (b)/o consider, (c) to expect, (d) to know, (e)to believe, etc.
- I just can i understand him taking the money.
- We consider him being a capable man
- The children expected their father arriving soon.
- d) Everybody knows him being an honest man.
- e) The court believed him being guilty.
The Subjective Participial Construction
The Subjective Participial Construction is a morphological unit in which the participle (mostly Participle 1) is in predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case, such as:
The hoys (they) were seen playing on the beach.
In this sentence die part given in bold type, i.e. the boys… playing is the Subjective Participial Construction in which the participle playing is in predicate relation to the noun the boys (they); the construction has the function of the complex subject to the predicate of the sentence were seen. Therefore, the question to this type of subject is: What was seen? But not Who were seen? The answer will be: the boys playing
The predicate in this construction is used in the passive voice.
The travellers were seen descending the mountain.
The girls were heard laughing merrily.
In rendering this construction in Azerbaijani either (a) an indefinite personal (qeyri-muoyysn pxsli) sentence or (b) feli baglama is used, such as:
3. The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction
The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction is a grammatical unit in which the participle stands m predicate relation to a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case, but the noun or pronoun is not the subject of the sentence, such as:
The door of the room being open, we came in.
Although the Nominative Absolute Participial Construction is formally independent of the sentence, it is logically connected with it, serving as an adverbial modifier to the predicate. It can be:
1) an adverbial modifier of time:
The work being done, we left the laboratory. The lump having been lit, I resumed my work.
2) an adverbial modifier of cause.
There being no tap in the room, she had to cany her water from the kitchen. It being now late. I put off the light and went to bed.
3) an adverbial modifier of condition:
Weather permitting, we shall continue our journey. Conciliation failing, no further hope of agreement was left.
Note: The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction may be used without a participle, such as: The meeting over, we left the hall
The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction often occurs in fiction and scientific literature. It is rarely used in colloquial English.
The Nominative Absolute Participial Construction is generally- rendered in Azerbaijani by means of an adverbial clause.
The rain having ruined our tent, we had to put it up again.
4. The Prepositional Absolute Participial Construction Definition:
The Prepositional Absolute Participial Construction is a construction which is preceded by the preposition with, such as:
The thief was sitting quite silent and stood before the court, with his eyes fixed on the ground.
The old man was walking in the park, with his dog following him.
This construction is mostly used in the function of an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances. (See the above given examples).
Definition: The Gerund is a verbal which has nominal and verbal properties.
I). The Gerund has the following verbal properties.
- It has tense distinctions – Indefinite and Perfect, such as: Indefinite: taking, being taken.
Perfect: having taken, having been taken.
The tense of the gerund, like the Infinitive and the Participle, is not absolute, but relative. As a result of this:
the Indefinite gerund expresses an action simultaneous with that of the finite form of the verb in the sentence:
It was a pleasant summer day and she enjoyed sitting in the sun. I was very tired of reading and dead sleepy. He stood a moment without saying a word.
The Indefinite Gerund may also express the action referring to the future, denoted by such verbs as to intend, to insist, to rely, etc. Examples:
We intend going to the village tomorrow He insists on starting early in the morning the next day. 1 relied on your supporting me at the discussion.
the perfect gerund indicates that the action of the gerund precedes the action expressed by the finite verb.
She denied outright having been there. They parted without having spoken to each other.
However, a prior action is not always expressed by a perfect gerund; in certain cases a prior action may be expressed by an indefinite gerund.
This occurs after the verbs (a) to remember, (b) to excuse, (c) to forgive, (d) to thank and after the prepositions, (e) on (upon), (f) after and (g) without.
- 1 don 7 remember seeing him before.
- You must excuse my not answering your letter.
- / cannot forgive myself not going to see my mother before she died.
- The old lady thanked me for helping her cross the road.
- On leaving the house we directed our steps to the nearest shop.
- After finishing my work, I went home.
- He left the house without telling me the cause of his sudden departure.
- The gerund of transitive verbs has voice distinctions:
Active voice: (a) writing, having written.
Passive voice: (b) being written, having been written. Examples:
- a) The snow showed no sign of stopping. I don‘/ like reading aloud.
- b) The desire of being loved was his weak point. She didn’t like being criticized openly.
3) Like finite verbs, the gerund can be modified by an adverb.
Examples: He had the habit of smoking often. John had a passion for birds, and an aptitude for sitting very still to watch them.
4) Like finite verbs, the gerund of a transitive verb can have a direct object.
The house wanted painting. She began clipping the flowers and arranging them in a vase.
- The gerund has the following nominal properties.
As a noun, the gerund is used as (a) the subject, (b) the object, (c) the attribute, (d) the adverbial modifier. In the last two functions it is always preceded by a preposition.
- Crossing the river wax a hard task. Seeing is believing.
- She likes sitting in the sun.
- My grandfather was in the habit of smoking a pipe after dinner
- On reaching the house, I heard cry of a woman.
Syntactic Functions of the Gerund
In contemporary English the gerund may be used:
1) as a subject;
Swimming against the current is a difficult task.
Avoiding difficulties is the habit of lasy-bones.
2) as a predicative;
Deciding is acting. My aim is mastering English.
3) as a direct object;
The thief postponed giving a definite answer.
This bookshelf needs mending
4) as a prepositional object;
They talked of going to the Crimea for their holiday.
He began to pride himself on knowing some foreign languages.
5) as an attribute (always with a preposition, mostly of);
The old woman had the habit of gossiping. These boys had a custom of carving their names on stones and woods.
6) as an adverbial modifier (always with a preposition);
On coming home I met a friend of mine. The rain poured down without ceasing. The boy soon got out of breath with running. After talking to us for a moment he left the room.
The Gerundial Construction Definition:
The Gerundial Construction is a grammatical unit which consists of a noun in the genitive case or a possessive pronoun preceding the gerund, such as:
I insisted on Tom’s (his) coming home.
The Gerundial construction may have the function:
1) of a complex subject;
John’s coming home so late disturbed his mother.
His behaving at the party upset the guests.
Note: A gerundial construction used as a subject is often introduced by an anticipatory it, such as:
It was quite unexpected his coming back so soon.
It is not worth while you’re going there today.
2) as a complex predicative;
It was John’s coming that pleased me greatly.
3) as a complex object;
I began to picture to myself my being found dead in a day or two,. (Dickens).
4) a complex prepositional object;
I insisted on Jim’s leaving the room. ‘
We were surprised at her leaving the party soon.
5) a complex attribute;
There was no hope of his meeting anybody at home at that time.
6) as a complex adverbial modifier.
How could you leave the prison without the guard’s seeing you? Note: In contemporary English there is a tendency to use the noun in the common case instead of the noun in the genitive case, such as:
I remember my father-in-law (instead of father-in-law’s) going for a short sea trip for the benefit of his health.
The Verbal Noun Definition:
The -ingform word which has all the noun properties is called the verbal noun.
As a noun the verbal noun can take plural ending -s, such as:
comings, goings, doings, thinkings
All these comings and goings disturb me greatly.
You can find a lot of sayings in contemporary English.
As a noiui the verbal noun may have the article of (a) definiteness or (b) indefiniteness.
- A clapping of hands informed that the waltz ended.
- I was waken by the ringing of the telephone.
Unlike the other -ing form words, the verbal noun is modified by an adjective.
The early coming of spring gladdens my heart.
These are the distinguishing features of the verbal noun from the other -ing form words in English. Carry them in mind.
The Infinitive and the Gerund Compared
The Infinitive and the Genind are both verbals, each of them having their own distinguishing features. But still they have much in common since they both have some nominal and verbal properties. However, in the infinitive the verbal nature, whereas in the gerund the nominal nature is prominent.
The basic difference in their meaning is that the gerund is more general, but the infinitiygjs more concrete, as in the sentences 7 like playing chess ’(in general) but: My father likes smoking cigarettes in the evenings by the fire-place (in general). “/ don’t like to play chess now, as I am tired”. Another example: “He wants to smoke a cigarette and then to go to bed. (a concrete occasion)”.
The Gerund and Participle I Compared
The gerund and participle I both are verbals, they have the same morphological form -ing. They both have tense and voice distinctions. Therefore, at first sight it seems too difficult todraw a distinction between them. But in fact, the gerund andParticiple I are different morphological units in contemporary English; they are different in meaning and in syntactic usage; die gerund has nominal features. Participle I has adjectival and adverbial features; the gerund may be used in the function of the subject, the object, etc. but Participle I is never used as a subject an object mint! sen tenet!. These tacts snow that the two verbals, i.e. the gerund and Participle 1, are quite different morphological units. On this ground they are considered as different verbals in contemporary English.
The Gerund and the Verbal Noun Compared
The gerund and the verbal noun are quite alike in form, both are constructed by adding the suffix -ing, such as:
The Gerund The Verbal Noun
to work -ing working to work+-ing =working
to see -ingseeing to see+-ing=seeing
to go ~ -ing=going to go + -ing= going
Therefore, sometimes it seems difficult to draw a distinction between these verbals, having the same morphological form. But when we go into detail, it becomes quite evident that they, i.e. the gerund and the verbal noun, are quite different: the gerund has tense and voice distinc- tions, the verbal noun has not, the gerund of the transitive verb may take a direct object, such as: After finishing work, he left the lab. The verbal noun never takes a direct object. The gerund can be modified an adverb, such as I was tired of sitting still, but the verbal noun has not got such usage, the verbal noun can take the plural suffix -s, but the gerund can’t, die verbal noun may be used with both articles.