Distinguishing a participial phrase from a gerund phrase

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grammarian
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Distinguishing a participial phrase from a gerund phrase

Post by grammarian »

I am not a student. So this is not a homework question. But I do have a question from an English textbook. I have been reading John Warriner's English textbook Warriner's English Grammar and Composition. There is a quiz question in Warriner's textbook that has me baffled.

The sentence in question is the following: "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers."

The instructions for the quiz are to determine whether or not the sentence above is grammatically correct. I know that a gerund phrase functions as a noun. And I know that the participial phrase functions as an adjective.

The noun that is described by a gerund should have an apostrophe and the letter "s" after the noun. A noun that is modified by an adjective should not have an apostrophe and the letter "s" after the noun. The challenge here is to determine whether the phrase including the word "being" in the sentence above is a gerund phrase or a participial phrase. I have researched this in depth, and I cannot figure it out.

I watched several youtube videos about how to tell whether a phrase is a gerund phrase or a participial phrase, and I still don't understand this. The videos on this say one way to test whether a phrase is a gerund phrase or a participial phrase is to remove the phrase in question and see if the sentence is intact. If the sentence is intact, then the phrase is a participial phrase, not a gerund. The challenge here is to know exactly which words are part of the phrase and to know which words are not part of the phrase. I don't know if the phrase is "The store's being closed" or if the phrase is just "being closed". If the phrase is "The store's being closed", then the sentence would not remain intact with the phrase removed (so the phrase would be a gerund phrase). But if the phrase is only "being closed", the resulting sentence with the phrase omitted would be "The store annoyed the shoppers", which is an intact sentence. So if the phrase is only "being closed" , the phrase would be a participial phrase.

The other test to determine whether a phrase is a participial phrase or a gerund phrase is to replace the phrase with a pronoun such as "that" or "it". If the sentence still makes sense with the pronoun "that" or "it" instead of the phrase, then the phrase is a gerund phrase. This test does not work for me either since I don't know which words are part of the phrase and which words are not part of the phrase. If the entire phrase is "The store's being closed", then the sentence would still make sense, and the phrase would be a gerund. But if the entire phrase is only "being closed", then the sentence "The store it annoyed the shoppers" does not make sense. So the phrase would be a participial phrase.

So is the sentence "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers" grammatically correct?

Is the phrase in "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers" a gerund phrase, or is the phrase a participial phrase?
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kanecharles
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Re: Distinguishing a participial phrase from a gerund phrase

Post by kanecharles »

The sentence "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers" is grammatically correct. The phrase "being closed" in this sentence is a gerund phrase, not a participial phrase. A gerund phrase functions as a noun, and in this case, "being closed" acts as the subject of the sentence. Therefore, the sentence is structured correctly.
grammarian
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Re: Distinguishing a participial phrase from a gerund phrase

Post by grammarian »

kanecharles wrote: Thu Apr 25, 2024 9:58 am The sentence "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers" is grammatically correct. The phrase "being closed" in this sentence is a gerund phrase, not a participial phrase. A gerund phrase functions as a noun, and in this case, "being closed" acts as the subject of the sentence. Therefore, the sentence is structured correctly.
After I wrote the OP of this thread on April 18, I acquired the teacher's edition of John Warriner's textbook Warriner's English Grammar and Composition. The answer key of the teacher's edition does indeed say that "The store's being closed annoyed the shoppers" is grammatically correct. So you are right about that.

However, there is another thing that you wrote that I am not sure that you are right about. You wrote that the phrase "being closed" in this sentence is a gerund phrase, not a participle phrase. I agree with you that "being closed" is part of a gerund, not a participial phrase. But are you sure that the entire gerund phrase is "being closed"? I thought that if the phrase is a gerund phrase, then the entire gerund phrase would be "The store's being closed", not just "being closed".

Are you sure that the entire gerund phrase is "being closed"? Isn't "The store" the object of the gerund, and wouldn't that make the entire gerund phrase be "The store's being closed"?
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Josef Essberger
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Re: Distinguishing a participial phrase from a gerund phrase

Post by Josef Essberger »

If you are still in doubt I suggest you ask Alan in Grammar Help, but keep your posts short/succinct :mrgreen:
English Prepositions List by Josef Essberger
Extremely useful ebook full of examples and visual aids to learn prepositions :ok: Inés Barbero
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