Gerunds and Present Participles

Gerunds and present participles are both '-ing' words.  But how do you know which is which?

Infinitives

Infinitives are the 'base' forms of verbs. 

They're the same as the 'I' present simple form of the verb.  

Infinitive forms are words like eat, drink, think, go, look

It's common to show the infinitive with 'to':​

'to eat', 'to drink', 'to think', 'to go', 'to look'

-ing Words (Present Participles)

When the '-ing' word is acting as a verb, it's called a Present Participle:

I am eating my dinner.

Peter was drinking beer

Are you still working?​

Here the -ing word is part of the verb. We form it by adding '-ing' to the base verb.

But spelling can change too. Look:

pat => patting (we double the consonant)

live => living (we drop the 'e')

-ing Words (Gerunds)

When an '-ing' word is acting like a noun, it's called a Gerund:

He likes singing.

Running is good for you.

Fishing is a good way to relax.

Here the -ing words act as nouns - and could be replaced by a noun.

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