My dog's favorite pastime is sleeping.

I have been told that the word sleeping in this instance, is a gerund, but I have also been told that any "ing" word that follows "to be", in this case "is", is always considered to be a present participle.

Could anyone clear this up for me?

Thank you.

  • It's a noun. But note that with verbs other than "be", the -ing word can be a noun or a verb.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


It's definitely a gerund, in effect a noun meaning the state of being asleep.
If you interpret it as a present participle, your sentence would be saying that a "pastime is sleeping", which doesn't make sense, since pastimes don't go to sleep.

  • Thanks for the reply, that really helped get my head around it. Is it fair to say then, that the rule that any ing word that follows to be, is not always a present partciple?
    – Harry
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 19:19
  • Yes, that's correct. The "rule" that it must be a PP is wrong. Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 19:21

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