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Hello chaps,

My head is spinning on this one. Gerunds should of course be easy but I think I'm having a spazzy block on this one. Please check out the following examples:

1) Leaving taps on and using too much water is very bad for the environment. (Easy, 2 gerunds right?)

2) Everyone should be recycling rubbish. (I'm fizzed on this one and the modal/be/-ing set up makes me cry)

I have honestly spent the past few hours pouring obver the internet and grammar books looking for an answer to this. I understand the basic rules of when the verb becomes a gerund but number (2) and the following examples kill me:

a) Anyone who uses private transport when they could be taking the train is wasting energy. (1 gerund / 1 participle??)

Please advise. I must lie down in a dark room.

Thanks from Hong Kong Emotion: smile
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Forget about trying to distinguish between gerunds and participles. They are all "-ing" forms, as Swan, Practical English Usage, classifies them. Much easier.

All your sentences are fine, IMO.
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1) Leaving taps on and using too much water is very bad for the environment. (Easy, 2 gerunds right?) Right.

2) Everyone should be recycling rubbish. Should is a modal auxiliary or a defective auxiliary as these verbs are also called. It is always followed by an infinitive. Be recycling is a present continuous infinitive, and the recycling part is a present participle, not a gerund.

a) Anyone who uses private transport when they could be taking the train is wasting energy. The same grammatically as the one above; taking is a present participle, not a gerund.

The defective auxiliaries are: can, could; shall, should; will, would; may, might; must and ought. In addition, need and dare are sometimes used grammatically in the same way as these auxiliaries.

Cheers
CB
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Cool Breeze1) Leaving taps on and using too much water is very bad for the environment. (Easy, 2 gerunds right?) Right.

2) Everyone should be recycling rubbish. Should is a modal auxiliary or a defective auxiliary as these verbs are also called. It is always followed by an infinitive. Be recycling is a present continuous infinitive, and the recycling part is a present participle, not a gerund.

a) Anyone who uses private transport when they could be taking the train is wasting energy. The same grammatically as the one above; taking is a present participle, not a gerund.

The defective auxiliaries are: can, could; shall, should; will, would; may, might; must and ought. In addition, need and dare are sometimes used grammatically in the same way as these auxiliaries.

Cheers
CB
Now that's an excellent help.

(I'm the original poster by the way)

I do prefer the 'Balls to Gerunds and Participles' school of thought but I couldn't find reference to an in depth explanation. Almost everyone online has bastardised each others work and I feel that most wouldn't know the true meaning.

Excellent reply. Top class.

Thanks a lot Emotion: smile
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You're welcome, Charlie Boy. Glad to be of help.Emotion: smile
CB
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