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Question for grammar masters. Hello, everyone! I got stuck at the sentence below. Could you help me out? Ex. 26. Find the sentences in which: a) “-ing” form is a gerund, b) a verbal noun. Sentence 14. The old clock kept ticking on the mantelpiece, as if counting the seconds left before the coming of daylight. Verbal noun is defined as "a noun that has no verb-like properties despite being derived from a verb." That means that verbal nouns can have either a determiner, an adjective or it can be followed by a prepositional phrase. In this sentence “ticking” and “coming” are BOTH verbal nouns because they take prepositional phrases “on the mantelpiece” and “of daylight”. What about “counting”? Is it a gerund or a verbal noun? Why? Thank you very much for your replies!
Sep 27, 2018 10:53 AM
Answers · 9
Hi Sasha, Let's split this sentence into three parts: (i) The old clock kept ticking on the mantelpiece, as if (ii) counting the seconds left before (iii) the coming of daylight. (i)The old clock (noun phrase - subject) kept (verb – continued in a given state) ticking (gerund) on a mantelpiece (prepositional phrase) (ii)as if (appears to be) : The old clock (subject) appears to be (verb) counting (gerund) the seconds left (direct object of gerund) (iii)the (determiner) coming (verbal noun) of daylight (prepositional phrase) As you correctly pointed out, a gerund still retains verb-like properties; hence, it can take objects. In part (ii), “the seconds left” is the object of “counting”. The gerund phrase is “counting the seconds left.” (which includes the gerund and other words that complete its meaning). A verbal noun has properties of a noun (though it is derived from a verb). Thus, it can be modified by adjectives, preceded by determiners and post-modified by prepositional phrases. In part (iii), the determiner-verbal noun- prepositional phrase structure is clearly seen. I would like to say that gerund phrases can also include prepositional phrases as well. For example: "My greatest challenge in school is focusing on my reading." Here, "focusing on my reading" is a gerund phrase and "on my reading" is a prepositional phrase found within the gerund phrase. The main difference between verbal nouns and gerunds is that gerunds can take an object while verbal nouns do not. I may also not be totally accurate in my analysis though this is how I would interpret the sentences. I hope this helps.
September 27, 2018
Not sure I am a "grammar master" ha ha! I see that you asked a question on this topic yesterday, I believe. And yep it is a lesser studied and known about grammar rule. Let's see if I can teach you to fish instead of giving you a fish... If the form is a verbal noun it would take an adjective. If a gerund you would need an adverb. So which would you choose? The old clock kept (loudly or loud) ticking on the mantelpiece... i would say loudly, so it's a verb form as if (quickly or fast) counting the seconds left... I would say quickly, so it's a verb form before the (fatal or fatally) coming of daylight. .. I would say fatal, so it's a noun form Is that general rule ok? No idea how watertight my logic is but I think it would work in the vast majority of cases! EDIT You got me thinking and I had a look around at for some articles... Seems a good one. None used the distinction that I gave, so maybe I am wrong. But saying that my logic seems valid for these sentences. Let me know if you are think I am mistaken! Ticking and Counting can take objects (He kept hitting me, Counting the seconds) but Coming is generally intransitive and so like here cannot take an object, so is a verbal noun.
September 27, 2018
I think you confuse yourself with those rules and definitions. Just find a noun structurally. A verbal noun is the same noun as all the rest just derives from a verb. "kept ticking" - doing what? - "ticking" = gerund "counting .. left" - what left? - "counting" = noun "before the coming" - before what? - "the coming" = noun
September 27, 2018
It is not answer but some flood. I bet here `ticking` - is a Gerund `counting`, `coming` - are a verbal noun.
September 27, 2018
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