1. SlowToShow

    SlowToShow Member

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    Present participle vs verbs?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by SlowToShow, Jul 4, 2017.

    I'm reading a grammar book and can't distinguish between these two examples.

    "has precious metals investors speculating" <--Labeled a present participle
    "precious metals investors are speculating" <--Labeled an action.

    If the former is an adjective and the latter is a verb, what is the difference? They are both describing the same event with slightly different wording. I are confused.
     
  2. Storysmith

    Storysmith Active Member

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    There isn't much to choose between those two sentences. "Speculating" is a verb in both - it is never an adjective. The difference is that the top sentence is a sentence fragment rather than a full sentence. "The rise in the price of gold has precious metals investors speculating," would be a full sentence, and there you can see that it links the speculation to something else.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think it also comes down to subject/predicate stuff...or subject/object stuff... somehow the subject is involved, I'm pretty sure!

    Like, in storysmith's expanded version of the present participle example, the subject of the sentence is "The rise in the price of gold". That's what's doing the main action, and then the main verb is "has" and the "speculating" part is just adding information (possibly it's the object?). Whereas in the second example, the subject is "precious metal investors" so the main action is "speculating".

    There. Have I made everything much less clear?
     
  4. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    They should have been more clear by saying:

    "has precious metals investors speculating" <-- present participle modifier
    "precious metals investors are speculating" <-- present participle verb tense​

    Those are your two choices for the -ing form of verbs. (And gerunds, whatever.) The first is describing a quality of the investors, the second is making them the subject and giving them an action (are speculating).

    I know it's strange that one is an action and the other is a modifier (which are always adjectives or adverbs, so . . . it's acting like an adjective here) but look at an easier example:

    "has precious metals investors green with envy"​

    Which is an adjective phrase, right? That's what speculating is doing in the first example. It's describing.

    I've read this book. It's actually very good. The upcoming line on the next page is basically correct:

    Any sentence built on the foundation of [has + noun or pronoun + present participle] stuffs the action into the participial phrase or clause.​

    So . . .

    I have the dog jumping for food.​

    "Jumping for food" is a present participial phrase modifying "dog." The real (lexical) verb is "have," and it's (surprisingly) the only verb here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
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  5. SlowToShow

    SlowToShow Member

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    I love this book, but this part confuses me. And I think my question was poorly formed. The sentences weren't complete, and when I said, "is an adjective," I should have said, "works as an adjective". I'm still lost. I thought I understood most of this, then I blinked and my brain felt like it scrambled all I just learned.

    I'll couch it for later.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017

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