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Crews worked at containment, keeping the oil from spreading, but their efforts weren't effective.

I was asked whether the word 'keeping' was a gerund or a participle.

I said that it was a participle and the whole phrase in italics describes 'Crews'.

However, another another person argued that it was an appositive phrase. So this person believes it is a gerund.

What do you think it is? In other words, do you think that the phrase renames the word 'containment' or the phrase describes 'Crews'?

Cheers.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
What about here, Ed:

1. Crews worked at containment, thereby keeping the oil from spreading.
2. Crews did X, thereby doing Y.

Would you call "doing" in #2 a gerund?

MrP
Hi MrP,

the distinction between gerunds and participles can be a fine line at times. Here is another example to illustrate:

By keeping the bathrroms clean, I am paid a good salary.=Keeping=gerund

Keeping the bathrooms clean, I am paid a good salary.=Keeping=Participle

Although the sentence example is horrible, it shows the similarities between these two non-finite verbs (verbals) well. Keeping in the first sentence is a gerund becuase it takes the place of a noun; that is, it is the object of the preposition. Meanwhile, keeping in the second sentence is a participle as it modifies the subject 'I' by describing 'I' and, as you know, pariticples are adjectives. Although they appear to both function adjectivally, the gerund is not. The gerund is functioning as the object of a preposition while indirectly describing the subject.

Anyway, in the sentence you provided, 'doing' is a participle as it is no longer functioning as an appositive; it is describing the 'Crews' by saying what he is doing (x thereby y).

If the sentence was altered slighty, 'doing' would become a gerund:

Crew did X by doing Y.

It is now the object of the preposition, and the prep phrase (by doing Y) is functioning adverbally saying how the Crew did X.
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And now a quick question for you:

I was asked if this person's statement below was grammatically correct. Of course I said 'no it wasn't.'

Evidence which includes: the increase in global temperatures, intense hurricane activities, the increasing number of heat waves, unusual occurrences of heavy rainfall, droughts, forest fires, unprecedented seasonal changes, and an explanation to the myth that climatic changes are only due to natural variation and not global warming.

He stated that there was a finite verb present (are) as well as a subject. Although it clearly is not a correct sentence, I can't seem to explain to him clearly why the finite verb still doesn't make the sentence grammatical.

Could you perhaps think of a way to explain this to him. (I know that the colon is incorrectly used too, but I'm mainly focusing on why the finite verb doesn't make the sentence grammatical).

Cheers.
Here is my attempt at answering the question:

Evidence which includes: the increase in global temperatures, intense hurricane activities, the increasing number of heat waves, unusual occurrences of heavy rainfall, droughts, forest fires, unprecedented seasonal changes, and an explanation to the myth that climatic changes are only due to natural variation and not global warming.

The subject of your sentence is 'evidence.'

the rest of your sentence is a relative clause with a huge list. 'Which includes...list...'

The reason for 'are' not making the sentence complete is because a complete sentence requires a subject either being the verb (a state) or doing the verb (an action). In this case, the finite verb 'are' is a part of the last item in your list; it is not the verb for the subject. That is, it is a finite verb within a noun complement clause. A noun complement clause begins with 'that' and is immediately placed after a noun. it is a type of dependent clause.

The sentence looks like this:

Subject (Evidence)--- Relative clause (which includes...(List....noun complement clause (subject=changes; verb=are))).

It needs a verb to go with the subject 'evidence'.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know there must be a clearer way to explain it.
Hello Ed,

The structure is:

1. Evidence which includes X and an explanation that Ys are only due to Z.

Thus "includes" and "are" both occur within subordinate clauses; the subject ("Evidence") does not have a verb, which means there is no main clause.

All the best,

MrP
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Thus "includes" and "are" both occur within subordinate clauses; the subject ("Evidence") does not have a verb, which means there is no main clause.

If you look above your post, I wrote an answer to the person's question too.

It is very similar to your answer, but it is far more detailed and therefore confusing haha. I named the two dependent clauses (relative, noun complement) which I suppose is unneccessary.

Thanks for the simplified and clearer version.
Keeping the oil from spreading is a present participial phrase

an appositive phrase is a noun phrase that renames a noun or a pronoun. Keeping the oil from spreading does not rename crews or containment

Crews worked at containment, a process involving..... here process would rename containment

hopes this helps,

RH, High School English teacher
BY: JESHA JANE...

It is a gerund because it ends in -ing, and it can be a participle because -ing is a suffix, but you can
Identify it if it is a gerund or participle when what is the lesson about, or what the sentence describes.

Example:
Lesson 1: Participles
1. she's always keeping her things in proper way.
-ing is used as a particple.

Example 2;
Lesson 2: Gerunds
1. Hiola is keeping the dresses she made for the comng up prom in their school.

-ing is used as a gerund
-and the subject is keeping.
-used as a subject compliment
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AnonymousExample:
Lesson 1: Participles
1. she's always keeping her things in proper way.
-ing is used as a particple. This is incorrect. Try reading it this way:
She is keeping her thing (always) in proper order.
Example 2;
Lesson 2: Gerunds
1. Hiola is keeping the dresses she made for the comng up prom in their school.
-ing is used as a gerund
-and the subject is keeping.
-used as a subject compliment

I am afraid I disagree with both of your lessons.

Both are present progressive with "keeping" as verb in progressive form. The subject is the address, not "keeping".
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