Originating 200 years ago, modern fencing is a close-quarter combat sport where two opponents face off each other in a contest of skill, speed and agility.

Is the word 'originating' used as a gerund? i understand that gerunds can be used as the subject or the object of a sentence but it doesn't seem to be the case here. Can the word be 'originated'?


  • 2
    It's a present participle. Sep 2, 2017 at 1:52
  • In modern grammar, we don't distinguish between gerunds and participles. We just call them both 'gerund-participles'. Sep 2, 2017 at 9:05

2 Answers 2


Actually, as StoneyB mentions, it's what some linguists call the "present participle" since "originating 200 years ago" is an adjective phrase that modifies "modern fencing".

Don't mistake a gerund for a participle

However, user178049 counters that modern grammar doesn't distinguish between these, and groups them together as "gerund-participles". I suggest they fence to determine who is correct.

  • I'm with StoneyB on this one! Nov 2, 2017 at 7:39

A simple solution to understand whether there's a gerund phrase or a participle phrase is to know that "gerund phrases" are always either the object or the subject in a sentence (or even both). "Participle phrases" always act like adjectives that modify the object or the subject in a sentence.

  1. Running with scissors, Michael accidentally stabbed a passerby. (Participle phrase "Running with scissors" modifies the subject "Michael" in the sentence)
  2. Running with scissors is dangerous. (Gerund phrase "Running with scissors" is the subject in the sentence)

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