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"This dress can be purchased using the credit card."

The present participle here "using the credit card" was used in the above sentence. What is it modifying? I think it is modifiyng 'the dress.' Or do you think it is modifying The implied person who wants to buy the dress?

If you change the sentence slightly, you can easily see what the phrase modifies:

"You can purchase this dress using the credit card."

Or even,

"This dress can be purchased by you using the credit card."

In these reformed sentences, the phrase modifies 'you.'

Your thoughts please.
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Comments  
It tells "how." It modifies the verb. This is true of all three versions.

You can argue that everything in a sentence tells something about the subject. That's how it gets to be the subject. If you didn't have a credit card you wouldn't be able to buy the dress. You are the one who's going to be using the credit card.

Using the credit card would be a good way to buy the dress. In this case it doesn't modify anything. It's the bloody subject of the sentence.

The police caught her [by] using the credit card. I'd say here it modifies "her," unless you mean to say the police used the credit card to nab her. Then It would modify the verb, not the police. (Forgive me for writing an ambiguous sentence.)
Eddie88The present participle here "using the credit card" was used in the above sentence. What is it modifying? I think it is modifiyng 'the dress.' Or do you think it is modifying The implied person who wants to buy the dress?
Modifying the dress? The dress is using the credit card? I don't think so. Emotion: smile

It's adverbial. In a way, by is omitted. Purchased how? ... (by) using the credit card.

CJ
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Hi Eddie

"Using the credit card" is modifying the action, the verb. As explained above, it's an adverbial phrase.
On the other hand, I wouldn't use "the" before "credit card". I'd better use "a". Unless, you want to refer to a specific credit card, i.e. YOUR credit card, THE card on the desk, etc.

Cheers,
Thanks, guys. That is where I went wrong: I didn't think about the omitted preposition 'by.'

I can now see that it is a prepositional phrase acting adverbally.

Therefore 'using...' is a gerund phrase as it is the object of the preposition.

I was confused without the preposition there, because it looked like a participle phrase and I know that these phrases cannot modify verbs.

But it is all clear now.

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However, although I know that a participle phrase modifies nouns and cannot modify a verb, here is a sentence, which I saw on a site with there incorrect analysis...(in blue)

2)Daniel's uncle claimed that he spent most of his youth dancing on rooftops and swallowing goldfish.

Here the co-ordinating conjunction "and" links two participle phrases("dancing on rooftops" and "swallowing goldfish") which act as adverbs describing the verb"spends."

How can this be so? A participle phrase functions adjectivally; that is, it modifies nouns, not verbs. How can they 'act as adverbs'?

I see it modifying the pronoun 'he.'..

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Oh and Avangi,

The police caught her [by] using the credit card. I'd say here it modifies "her," unless you mean to say the police used the credit card to nab her. Then It would modify the verb, not the police. (Forgive me for writing an ambiguous sentence.)

This again is a prep phrase modifying the verb 'caught' is it not? The gerund phrase is a part of the prep phrase. I don't see it modifying 'her.'

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Cheers.
Eddie88 The police caught her [by] using the credit card. I'd say here it modifies "her," unless you mean to say the police used the credit card to nab her. Then It would modify the verb, not the police. (Forgive me for writing an ambiguous sentence.)

This again is a prep phrase modifying the verb 'caught' is it not? The gerund phrase is a part of the prep phrase. I don't see it modifying 'her.'
I can't agree with everything you've said in your post above, but there's some indication you may be right about the captioned section, depending on your intention.

I'm not sure if you followed my claim that my sentence (in red) could be taken in two entirely different ways, one in which the "by" is not on the radar screen at all, and the other in which the "by" is only optional.

Without the "by," it's the lady who is using the credit card. (Maybe it's stolen, and the cops caught her while she was in the act of using it.) I really don't want to talk about noun phrases and gerunds, because I'm still totally confused about them; but in this case the [participial] phrase is adjectival, modifying "her." (I caught her stealing my wallet. I think the [participial] phrase modifies "her.") I hope we can at least agree that whatever "stealing" is now, it began its uncertain life as a present participle.

With the optional "by," it's the police who are using the credit card. (Exactly how they might use it to entrap her, I'll leave to your imagination.) If you don't mind, I'll continue to call "using the credit card" a [participial] phrase. I say in this case it's adverbial, answering the question "how." This is based on my sense of the meaning of the sentence. (At this particular point in my life I'm reluctant to let definitions bully me into changing the meaning of the sentence.)

I've never personally signed on to the notion that all participial phrases must be adjectival. I may be the only one in the world who currently suspends judgement on that issue, but I suspect not. I don't see why we should have to use lawyer's tricks to get around it.

Even if you change the order of the sentence to read, "The police, [by] using the credit card, caught her," I still say the phrase modifies the verb, with or without the "by."

I'll grant you, to include the "by" solves your problem in two ways: (1) it makes it crystal clear that the phrase answers the question "how," and (2) it converts the phrase to "prepositional," avoiding the problem of calling a participial phrase "adverbial."

If we make a slight change to the sentence, the "by" becomes even more significant: "The police, [by] using a high speed interceptor vehicle, caught her." The difference between the two sentences is purely semantic. But now, without the "by," we can make a good argument that the phrase is adjectival. However, with the "by," it's clearly adverbial.
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The other thing I must ask: in the sentence, "Using the credit card is a good solution," is it your position that since the [participial] phrase functions as the subject of the sentence, (1) the phrase is now a "noun phrase," and (2) "using" is now a "gerund"?

He loves swimming.
He keeps in shape swimming.
He keeps in shape by swimming.
Swimming across the river, he was the first to arrive.
By swimming across the river, he was the first to arrive.

Are these all gerunds?
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Some people definitly seem to dislike gerunds; they refuse to accept such a word exists and that all gerunds are in fact participles.

Although I have not wiped the word gerund out of my brain, I can see some sense in why you choose to ignore that it is a gerund.

There is little difference between gerunds and participles at times; however, sometimes a gerund seems the phrases only possible name. In your sentence, it is the object of the preposition, so it definitly functions as a noun, which a participle cannot be (in accordance with definitions).

The other thing I must ask: in the sentence, "Using the credit card is a good solution," is it your position that since the [participial] phrase functions as the subject of the sentence, (1) the phrase is now a "noun phrase," and (2) "using" is now a "gerund"?

Yes, that's right. It is a noun phrase, but more speciffically, it is a gerund phrase as the gerund is the head of the phrase. In this sentence, you don't see it as a particple phrase do you because what can it be describing?

He loves swimming.
He keeps in shape swimming.
He keeps in shape by swimming.
Swimming across the river, he was the first to arrive.
By swimming across the river, he was the first to arrive.

Are these all gerunds?

1)No, it is a participle desribing 'He'

2)I think it sounds very funny without the preposition by...I see it as a gerund even though by is not present as it is clearly just omitted.

3)Same again.

4)Participle phrase describing 'he.'

5)Gerund phrase (object of preposition)

The intersting thing is that there is a very similar aticle using similar sentences as the last two you provided.

Here is what this site said:

(participle)

--Watching how her older sister handled the ball, Diane began to realize how much practice must go into developing such skill.

(prepositional-gerund phrase)

--By watching how her older sister handled the ball, Diane began to understand how much practice must go into developing such skill.

(NOTE: Because an "ing" verb form used as a noun is a gerund, while the same word used as an adjective is a participle, the participle "Watching" in one sentence becomes a gerund when it is used as the object of the preposition in the next example, "By watching. . . .")

(prepositional-gerund phrase)

--On hearing the news, we all began to scream and jump with delight

So this is what the he/she believes, but I do understand why you don't want to call it a gerund in the 'using the credit card' sentence.

What do you think of all this?
(prepositional-gerund phrase)

I had no idea such a thing existed. I think it's another example of the tail wagging the dog.

Maybe CJ planted a seed earlier in the thread, mentioning an omitted "by." I didn't read it well and misunderstood the significance. I intended to go back. Oh, well.

I have no problem calling a phrase a noun phrase because it functions as a noun, and I have no problem calling a phrase a noun phrase because it's headed by a noun; but at this point in time I feel very strongly that those are two different things.

I have no problem calling a present participle a gerund when it functions as a noun. I'm on the fence about calling a participle (present or past) an adjective when it functions as an adjective, unless it has been so recognized by some reputable dictionary. (They often differ on this.)

The thing that sticks in my craw is calling a participal a gerund because the phrase it heads functions as a noun. You don't call it an adjective when the phrase it heads functions as an adjective. You don't call a preposition a gerund when the phrase it heads functions as a noun. To capitulate would be unconscionable! Is the infinitive "to capitulate" to be called a gerund simply because it's the subject of the sentence?? To hide in the closet is unseemly. I'll give you "to hide in the closet" as a noun phrase, but I won't give you "to hide" as a gerund.

BTW, in "He loves swimming," I think "swimming" is the direct object of the verb.

Best regards, - A.
BTW, in "He loves swimming," I think "swimming" is the direct object of the verb.

Sorry, of course it is. And this would make it a gerund.

So I guess we will have to leave it that you think of it as a participle modifying a verb then...
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