Participles and Gerunds Exercise

State whether the –ing forms given in the following sentences are participles or gerunds. In the case of participles, name the noun or pronoun they qualify. In the case of gerunds, state what function they serve in the sentence.

1.    Hearing a loud noise, we ran to the window.
2.    The motorcyclist was fatally injured in the accident and is now fighting for his life.
3.    He ruined his sight by watching TV all day.
4.    We saw a clown standing on his head.
5.    Asking questions is a whole lot easier than answering them.
6.    Waving their hands, the audience cheered the winner.
7.    Plucking flowers is forbidden.
8.    Jumping over the fence, the thief escaped.
9.    I was surprised at John’s being absent.
10.    We spent the whole day playing cards.
11.    A miser hates spending his money.
12.    John was angry at Alice trying to lie to her.
13.    Praising all alike is praising none.
14.    Are you afraid of speaking the truth?
15.    Singing to herself is her chief delight.


1.    Hearing – participle, qualifying the pronoun we
2.    Fighting – participle, qualifying the noun motorcyclist.
3.    Watching – gerund, object of the preposition by
4.    Standing – participle, qualifying the noun clown
5.    Asking – gerund, subject of is; answering – gerund
6.    Waving – participle, qualifying the noun audience
7.    Plucking – gerund; subject of the verb is
8.    Jumping – participle, qualifying the noun thief
9.    Being – gerund, object of the participle at
10.    Playing – gerund, complement of the noun whole day
11.    Spending – gerund, object of the verb hates
12.    Trying – gerund, object of the preposition at
13.    Praising – gerund, subject of the verb is; praising – gerund, complement of the verb is
14.    Speaking – gerund, object of the preposition of
15.    Singing – gerund, subject of the verb is


Both present participles and gerunds end in –ing. But they do not serve the same purposes in a sentence. For example, a gerund is a noun derived from a verb. It can serve the following purposes in a sentence:

As subject of a verb

Smoking is injurious to health.
Trespassing is prohibited.

As object of a transitive verb

I like reading.
She likes singing.

As object of a preposition

I am tired of waiting.

We were stopped from entering the compound.

As complement of a verb

What I most detest is smoking.

A participle is a word which is partly a verb and partly and adjective. Participles are usually used to qualify nouns.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.