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The Cambridge Dictionary says:

In English, many past and present participles of verbs can be used as adjectives. Some of these examples may show the adjective use.

So there is no escaping from it: scientific language has to be tackled and mastered if scientific thought is to be followed.

From the Cambridge English Corpus

The negative approach is to defend it by showing that it represents one way of escaping a number of problems facing standard egalitarian justification.

From the Cambridge English Corpus

Isn't escaping a gerund, however, in both the examples?

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So there is no escaping from it: scientific language has to be tackled and mastered if scientific thought is to be followed.

"No escaping from it" is a what Huddleston & Pullum (2002) refer to as a Hybrid Construction. It is hybrid in the sense that it is headed by a gerund-participle verb "escaping" but it takes a pre-head dependent that is characteristic of an NP structure, which in this case is the determiner "no".

The negative approach is to defend it by showing that it represents one way of escaping a number of problems facing standard egalitarian justification.

In this case, "escaping" is also a verb in the form of gerund-participle. "Escaping a number of problems" is therefore a VP that functions as complement of "of".

In modern grammar, the distinction between gerund and present participle is discarded entirely. There are a lot of grammars that follow this, such as that of Huddleston & Pullum (2002) and that of Aarts (2014). Huddleston & Pullum (2002) use the compound term "gerund-participle" to replace them both.

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  • Thanks a lot, @user178049. I'm not entirely well-versed in the CaGEL terminology. But I get your point. Still, if I may ask is escaping a gerund or a participle in the examples above in the light of traditional grammar?
    – user40475
    Apr 26, 2021 at 8:27
  • @User40475 I think you misunderstood Cambridge. The statement you found on Cambridge website is just a warning to inform you that many past and present participle verbs can also be adjectives: eg. "Entertaining" is an adjective in "The TV show is entertaining", but a verb in "He is entertaining us". In traditional grammar, "escaping" is a gerund in both of your examples. It is a gerund in the first sentence because it behaves like a noun (takes a determiner). It is a gerund in the second sentence because it is complement of a preposition.
    – user178049
    Apr 26, 2021 at 8:43
  • Above it says Some of these examples may show the adjective use, and then the examples follow. Now if they're adjectives, they're participles and not gerunds. Because a gerund is a noun, not an adjective @user178049.
    – user40475
    Apr 26, 2021 at 8:49
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    @User40475 Can you give a link. I found the same statement here: google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/angered and here: google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/…
    – user178049
    Apr 26, 2021 at 8:55
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    Yes, exactly @User40475
    – user178049
    Apr 26, 2021 at 9:10

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