Rob and Stephen enjoy talking about grammar, so stop to watch them discuss verbs followed by gerunds, v-ing, and infinitives, to + verb, as well as chat about too and very.

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Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

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Hello again Alyson,

Past participles are formed from a verb, but can be used in different ways. For example, they can be part of a perfect verb tense (e.g. 'I have studied'), to form a passive verb (e.g. 'The study was conducted'), and they can also be used as an adjective (e.g. 'I am tired'). Not all past participles can be used in all three ways, but these are three general examples.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell if a past participle is being used in a passive construction (as in my second example) or in a copula (as in my third example) since of course both use the verb 'be' plus the past participle.

In a case like this, I'd recommend testing the sentence by introducing an agent with the word 'by'. If you can do it, then this is a good indication that it's a passive construction. If not, this is a good indication of a copula. 'What are those figures based on by me?', for example, doesn't make sense. 'Are you married by the sheriff?' doesn't work, either. For this reason, in both cases, the past participle functions as an adjective.

One interesting and difficult point is that if you change your second sentence to 'Were you married by the sheriff?', it becomes a grammatically well-formed passive structure. But here the meaning is different from 'Were you married?'. 'Were you married?' is a question about someone's marital status, not about who married them. 'Were you married by the sheriff?', by including 'by the sheriff', shows that it is a question about who performed the marriage and so the sentence is interpreted as a passive.

I hope this helps you get a handle on it.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hi Kirk

Thank you again. It is now clear. Have a great weekend.

Best wishes
Alyson

Hi Kirk

As per my account it looks like you responded to my question, but I don't see it.

Am I looking in the wrong place?

Thanks for your help.

Best wishes
Alyson

Good morning Kirk

Thank you again for everything. I appreciate all of your help.

Have a good day.

Best wishes
Alyson

Hi Kirk, thanks yet again for you help. Have a great weekend.

Best wishes
Alyson

In the example " Since I have retired, I really enjoy spending time with my grandchildren'' can we use "to spend"???

I didn't get how to use these forms....is there any general rule...if yes please help me

thank you

Hello sosario1987,

'I really enjoy to spend time' is not correct because the verb 'enjoy' is followed by a noun (e.g. 'I enjoy French films'). When there's a verb, we use the noun form of the verb, which is the -ing form -- that is why 'I enjoy spending time' is correct here.

Different verbs have different verb patterns after them. 'enjoy' is one of many that can be followed by a verb in the -ing form -- you can see more on our verbs followed by -ing clauses page. Other common patterns are for a verb to be followed by a to-infinitive or a 'that' clause.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Good morning Kirk, I have a question about the following question:

1. How about scheuduling the meeting at lunch time?
2. Is "scheduling" a gerund or verb?
3 What about starting the meeting at 11 and then talking more over lunch?
4. Is "starting" a gerund or verb?

Sorry I have another question:

5: If the "scheduling" and "starting" are not verbs why are they gerunds and where is the verb in the question?

I appreciate your help with this.
Best wishes
Alyson

Hello Alyson,

From one perspective, these are simply idioms that call for an -ing form here. But if you want to try to dig into the grammar a bit, one thing you can do when you have a question like this is make a substitution. E.g., in the place of 'scheduling a meeting' say 'a talk' (which is a noun), e.g. 'How about a talk at lunch time?' The fact that that seems to make sense suggests that the -ing form here is a gerund. We can also say 'how about that?' but not 'how about talk?', which also suggests a noun form is used about 'what about' and 'how about'.

These are not fully-formed questions and so the grammar we find in full questions is not present.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk, thank you again for all of your help. It makes perfect sense. Have a great day. Best wishes,
Alyson

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