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Verbals: Gerunds, Infinitives, and Participles

HyperWrite's Verbals Study Guide is your comprehensive resource for understanding and using gerunds, infinitives, and participles in English. This guide covers the definitions, functions, and examples of these essential grammatical concepts.

Introduction to Verbals

Verbals are words that are formed from verbs but function as other parts of speech, such as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. There are three types of verbals in English: gerunds, infinitives, and participles. Understanding how to use these verbals correctly can help you improve your writing and avoid common grammatical errors.

Common Terms and Definitions

Gerund: A verbal that ends in -ing and functions as a noun.

Infinitive: A verbal that consists of "to" followed by the base form of a verb, and can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb.

Participle: A verbal that functions as an adjective and comes in two forms: present participles (ending in -ing) and past participles (usually ending in -ed, -en, -d, -t, or -n).

Verbal Phrase: A phrase that contains a verbal and its modifiers or complements.

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Gerunds

Gerunds are verbals that end in -ing and function as nouns. They can be used as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, objects of prepositions, or subject complements.

Examples:

  • Subject: Swimming is my favorite form of exercise.
  • Direct Object: I enjoy reading classic novels.
  • Object of Preposition: She is interested in learning a new language.

Infinitives

Infinitives are verbals that consist of "to" followed by the base form of a verb. They can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.

Examples:

  • Noun: My goal is to graduate with honors.
  • Adjective: She has a lot of work to do before the deadline.
  • Adverb: He studies hard to succeed in his classes.

Participles

Participles are verbals that function as adjectives. There are two types of participles: present participles (ending in -ing) and past participles (usually ending in -ed, -en, -d, -t, or -n).

Examples:

  • Present Participle: The singing bird perched on the branch.
  • Past Participle: The broken vase lay shattered on the floor.

Common Questions and Answers

What is the difference between a gerund and a present participle?

While both gerunds and present participles end in -ing, they serve different functions in a sentence. Gerunds function as nouns, while present participles function as adjectives.

Can infinitives be split?

In most cases, it is best to avoid splitting infinitives by placing adverbs before or after the infinitive phrase. However, there are some instances where splitting an infinitive can improve clarity or emphasis.

How do I identify a verbal in a sentence?

To identify a verbal, look for words that are formed from verbs but function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. Gerunds end in -ing, infinitives start with "to" followed by the base form of a verb, and participles function as adjectives.

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Conclusion

Verbals are an essential part of English grammar, and understanding how to use gerunds, infinitives, and participles correctly can help you improve your writing and avoid common errors. By familiarizing yourself with the definitions, functions, and examples of these verbals, you will be well-equipped to incorporate them effectively into your own writing.

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Verbals: Gerunds, Infinitives, and Participles
Master the use of verbals in English grammar
What is the difference between a gerund phrase and a participial phrase?
A gerund phrase consists of a gerund and its modifiers or complements, and functions as a noun. A participial phrase consists of a participle and its modifiers or complements, and functions as an adjective.

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