So I looked up the meanings of the word "former" and the descriptions were as follows :

  1. Having previously been a particular thing.
  2. Denoting the first or first mentioned of two people or things.

I dont know whether having and denoting are gerunds or participles and although I can normally tell the difference sometimes its very difficult.

Examples of where its clear which one it is :

Gerund : Walking on the beach is fun.

Participle : Walking on the beach, I got sunburned because I forgot to use sunscreen.

  • 2
    Many modern grammars do not distinguish gerunds and present participles, simply calling the -ing forms "gerund-participles" - it's simpler and better. So all your examples are best called "gerund-participial" clauses headed by the gerund-participle verbs "having", "denoting" and "walking".
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 8:53
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Is this -ing form a gerund or a participle?
    – fred2
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


A gerund is a word ending with -ing that functions as a noun.

Ex. I enjoy (the activity of) swimming).

Ex. Walking is healthy for you.

Ex. Sleeping is a pastime for some people.

Not a gerund: He is sleeping.

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