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" building cars is a very difficult task "

here building is describing cars,

therefore it acts like a adjective

in the earlier sentence "building" was actually a real building

just figure out if the word is describing or not

bye!
Anonymous" building cars is a very difficult task "
What is a very difficult task?

The subject of the sentence is "building cars"

Let's look at it another way:
The assembly process for cars is a difficult task. -> Process is a noun, and the subject.
The construction of cars is a difficult task -> construction is a noun, and the subject.
The building of cars is a difficult task -> Building is a noun (a gerund, actually) and the subject.
Building cars is a difficult task -> Building is the subject, "cars" is the direct object of the gerund.
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Anonymous washing (washing machine) = gerund (noun)
Do you see washing machine as a compound noun then, equivalent in meaning to something like, perhaps, *laundry machine?

CJ
Anonymousthe object 'task'
It's not an object. After a linking verb like "is", we call it "a predicate noun" or "a subject complement", not an object. The main point of your post is correct, however. Emotion: smile

CJ
Hi, I am Thanh Dinh.
The differences between gerund and present participle can be showed:
A washing machine should be written " A washing - machine " This is a gerund, the noun washing works as an adjective. We need a hyphen. From " A washing-machine" we cannot make an adjective clause " A machine that is washing".
A washing girl shoud be written " A washng girl" without a hyphen. This is a participle to modify the noun "girl". It is a present participle because we can rewrite the adjective "washing" to an adjective clause " A girl who is washing".
Drinking-water is gerund. A drinking horse is present participle.
A sleeping-car is gerund. A sleeping baby is present participle.
May it help you.
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Hi Thanh;
You have not checked your English grammar books for correct definitions and usages of the gerund. The gerund is the present participle, which, by itself, is used as a noun in a sentence.
Here are examples:

Mom did the washing every Friday.
Drinking 4 glasses of water every day is good for you.
His favorite activity in the summer is sleeping.

A washing machine should be written " A washing - machine " This is a gerund, the noun washing works as an adjective. We need a hyphen. No, washing machine is not a gerund, and there is no hypen in washing machine. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/washing+machine

Drinking-water is gerund. No, it is not a gerund. There is no hypen in drinking water.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/drinking+water

A sleeping-car is gerund. No, it is not a gerund. There is no hypen in sleeping car.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sleeping+car