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I came across the following sentence and I am not sure about the grammatical function of "winning the prize". Is this a participle clause?

There is little likelihood of Boris winning the prize.

Thank you.

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  • "Winning" is not a participle but a gerund in this context
    – Sam
    Dec 6, 2023 at 14:09
  • Traditional grammar calls it a gerund, but modern grammar calls it a gerund-participial clause, or simply an ing clause.
    – BillJ
    Dec 6, 2023 at 14:39
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    What @Sam said. "Winning" is a gerund (noun), which is modified by "Boris" and "the prize", either or both of which could be discarded. There's little chance of winning and There's little chance of success are syntactically much the same (except you can't say There's little chance of Boris success the prize, obviously). Dec 6, 2023 at 14:40
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    "Winning" is a verb. "Boris winning the prize" is a subordinate non-finite clause functioning as complement of the preposition "of". The clause has the noun phrase "Boris" as subject and the verb phrase "winning the prize" as predicate. Note that "winning" must be a verb since it has "the prize" as its direct object. Nouns obviously don't have direct objects.
    – BillJ
    Dec 6, 2023 at 16:21
  • "Is it a gerund or participle" is like asking a expert in insects "Is it a katydid or a bush cricket". They are really just different names for the same thing.
    – James K
    Dec 6, 2023 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

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There is little likelihood of [Boris winning the prize].

"Winning" is a verb.

"Boris winning the prize" is a subordinate non-finite clause functioning as complement of the preposition "of". It is typically called a gerund-participial clause or just an -ing clause.

The clause has the noun phrase "Boris" as subject and the verb phrase "winning the prize" as predicate.

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