Sometimes we use verb+ing form I don't know what they are gerunds or adjectives.

Like in this sentence The car mowed down two people before hitting the tree.

  • 2
    You use gerund after prepositions (after, before, without, in spite of, on, etc.).
    – Student
    Mar 29, 2016 at 10:14
  • Could you please explain what's the logic behind, is it describing continuous action ?
    – Rocky
    Mar 29, 2016 at 10:41
  • But 'hitting' is an action here. How this can function as a noun
    – Rocky
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:03
  • Hitting the tree is a verb. You can't say "before to hit the tree". You use gerund after prepositions.
    – Student
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:35
  • you said that it function as a noun
    – Rocky
    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


The verb+ing is used in two ways: as a present participle, and as a gerund.

Present Participle:

Present participles are formed from verbs. Present participles are used either as an adjective or when forming continuous tenses.


  • He is running towards me. [run+ing] (forming present continuous tense)
  • The boys are laughing. [laugh+ing] (forming present continuous tense)
  • The laughing fish was my favourite of the two. (used as an adjective modifying "fish")


Gerunds are nouns—and used as nouns—that are also formed from verbs. The same form, verb+ing, is used.

As the user "Student" explained, gerunds are also used after prepositions.

  • Laughing is good for heath. (gerund used as a subject)

Take your example:

  • The car mowed down two people before hitting the tree.

Here, the subject is "the car." "Hitting" is the gerund which is being used as the object of preposition.

OP's query:

I have one more doubt like in these sentences: 1.The laughing fish was my favourite of the two. (used as an adjective modifying "fish") 2. It is a working machine. In both examples 'laughing' and 'working' are present participle used as an adjective?

"laughing" is present participle used as an adjective. Same goes for "working." Note that the machine is in working condition. "Working," a present participle used as an adjective, is modifying the noun, machine.


This man is laughing.

This means that the person is laughing at the time of speaking. "Laughing" here is present participle which is used as a present participle to form the continuous tense.

A laughing man is a good man. (just an example, please don't berate me)

Here, "laughing" is a present participle but used as an adjective which modifies the noun "man."

Further Read at Edufind.com: Present Participle

  • That means gerund can be an object and subject and they both are also noun?
    – Rocky
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:23
  • @Rocky Yes. Read here to understand more uses of gerund. :) A gerund will always be a noun. Though, the noun can be the subject, object, subject compliment, etc..
    – Usernew
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:55
  • Okay but I can't understand "If you can put the pronoun "it" after the word "to" and form a meaningful sentence, then the word "to" is a preposition and must be followed by a gerund". where is gerund here "I look forward to it". "I am used to it".
    – Rocky
    Mar 30, 2016 at 6:43
  • @Rocky It is not a rule that a gerund will always be preceded by a preposition. Whenever you see a gerund after a preposition, that gerund is the object of the preposition.
    – Usernew
    Mar 30, 2016 at 13:23
  • Okay, but could you give any example of "it" after the word "to" followed by a gerund. Is this sentence is continuous 'I am looking forward to it'
    – Rocky
    Mar 31, 2016 at 4:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .