I was trying to formulate the present participle form of the sentence "My body slowly stops working". My intuition told me that I should be writing "My body is slowly stopping to work." However I have realised that if that is actually the correct participle, then it would be identical to the participle of "My body slowly stops to work.", leading to some ambiguity. I thought that this shouldn't be the case, so I tried to find other examples, only to realise that most websites seem to be trying to avoid that specific structure.

As a result, I was thinking of other constructs that are similar, for example "I am beginning to understand", however this website says that you can use both gerund or infinitive after begin.

At this point, I was considering whether it is not allowed to create the participle of "stop + gerund" and it should be avoided at all cost, for example by simply writing "My body slowly stops working". However, there is one example I have found on this German-English translation page, that mentions the sentence

I was trying to endure the inflammation without stopping to work.

which seems to be exactly the declination that my intuition gave me and which seems to be hard to avoid the gerund without completely rephrasing the last bit. Is it bad practice or even forbidden to try use a participle in a construct like this, or is the ambiguity after forming the sentence just a quirk of the English language?

1 Answer 1


The following sentences sound natural in English: - My body slowly stops working. - My body has slowly stopped working. - My body is slowly failing.

I would not say, "My body is slowly stopping to work." It sounds odd, I think because "stop to work" can also mean to "go to work" in the sense of, I was doing one thing, and I "stopped to work" on something else. This makes the sentence ambiguous.

Your last example, "I was trying to endure the inflammation without stopping to work" sounds incorrect to me. I think a native English speaker would say "I was trying to endure the inflammation without stopping work."

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