Is "gasping" an adjective, adverb, or neither?

  • Never an adverb or an adjective, but it can be a noun in "The gasping eventually stopped", and of course a verb, as in "The gasping athlete" / "The athlete was gasping for air".
    – BillJ
    Mar 19, 2020 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


"Gasping", the -ing form of the verb "gasp", can function as a gerund (a noun) or as part of a conjugated verb.

The gasping was audible. (noun)

The man is/was gasping audibly. (part of a progressive verb).

  • In "the gasping man ...", "gasping" is best analysed as a verb, not an adjective.
    – BillJ
    Mar 19, 2020 at 11:06
  • No, it is a present participle used as an adjective. See: dailywritingtips.com/present-participle-as-adjective Mar 19, 2020 at 14:09
  • I disagree. It can't be modified by "very", nor can it occur as complement to complex-intransitive verbs like become (* "It became quite gasping"), or to complex-transitive verbs like "find" (* "I found it quite gasping"). It's a verb, the same as, for example, "sleeping" is in "a sleeping child". The site you provided a link to is hardly a reliable grammar resource.
    – BillJ
    Mar 19, 2020 at 15:02
  • Well, thank you, I will look into that further. Mar 19, 2020 at 15:09
  • Yes, you are right. I found a more reliable source: thoughtco.com/what-is-a-participial-adjective-1691486 Is there a better label for that use than just "verb"? Also, I have removed the incorrect information from my answer. Mar 19, 2020 at 15:21

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