I was pretty clear about Gerunds. But following two examples make me confused.

he had a newspaper empire backing him

This example is from google translator https://translate.google.co.in/?um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&client=tw-ob#auto/en/back . They say "backing" is verb here. But i think "backing" is used here as a gerund(noun).

Another example

I’ve been dreaming of summer all winter long

This example is from http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/nouns/gerunds/ (at the bottom). They say "dreaming" is gerund here. But i think it is a verb.

So are these examples are wrong or am I missing something ?

  • They are both perfectly good, and neither of them contains a gerund. The first contains the participle "backing" and the second you may analyse either as a participle, or more conventionally as the perfect of the progressive (or continuous) form of "dream": _I have been dreaming.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 21, 2017 at 10:48
  • @ColinFine Can you please explain How "backing" is a participle . A participle is a word formed from a verb which can be used as an adjective. So how "backing" is an adjective ? and which noun it is modifying?
    – beginner
    Apr 21, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    "Backing him" is an adjectival phrase modifying "a newspaper empire". It may also be regarded as a small clause, corresponding to the full form "that was backing him"
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:14
  • Participles are verb forms, so the claim that "backing" and "dreaming" are verbs is reasonable. They are not finite verbs, but they are still members of a verb's conjugation. Since the present participle form and the gerund form are identical, there are some that use the "gerund" label even when the word takes a participial role, and there are others that use "gerund-participle" to cover all bases in all cases. In short, Colin is absolutely correct, but that doesn't mean that Google or GingerSoftware is wrong. They simply gave answers that were less complete and less useful than Colin's. Sep 27, 2017 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


I've been dreaming

This example is not a gerund; it is the present perfect continuous of the verb "dream".

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