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INTRODUCTION
1. THE GERUND AS A PART OF SPEECH IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
1.1 Definition of the Gerund
1.2 Forms of the Gerund
1.3 Syntactic Functions of the Gerund in the Sentence
2. THE USAGE OF THE GERUND IN THE ENGLISH AND SPANISH NEWSPAPERS
2.1The Functioning of the Gerund in the English Newspapers
2.2The Functioning of the Gerund in the Spanish Newspapers
2.3 The Comparative Analysis of the Gerund in the English and Spanish Languages
CONCLUSION
REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION

 

Nowadays there is an increasing interest in the study of non-finite forms of the verb in many languages that generally is represented by three categorical forms. However, within the framework of this work the main attention is paid to the gerund of the English and Spanish languages as it is considered to be the controversial linguistic phenomenon and an integral part of the verbal system of the both languages. Basically, the gerund shares many similarities among the English and Spanish languages, but at the same time there are obvious distinctions as well as peculiarities that are reflected in the certain language picture of the world.

The relevance of the study of the gerund and its functioning in the English and Spanish languages is based on the factors that it has been the object among some researchers and linguists. Nevertheless actually little attention is paid to this issue, and the phenomenon of the English and Spanish gerund is still insufficiently studied among them.  The complexity of the gerund is due to the peculiarities of the language development and language culture, including historical events and phenomenon.

The objective of this work is to study the usage of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages basing on the materials of the famous newspapers like «The Times», «The Guardian», «El Mundo» and «El País».

The object of the work is the gerund in the English and Spanish languages.

The subject of the work is the basic syntactic functions of the gerund and its usage in the English and Spanish newspapers.

The purpose predetermines the following tasks:

  • to consider the definition of the gerund in both languages
  • to investigate its main forms and functions in both languages
  • to study its usage in the relevant newspapers of both languages
  • to make the comparative analysis of the gerund in English and Spanish

The research was conducted on the material of the scientific literature related to the theme of non-finite forms of the verb of both languages. The choice of this theme is due to the significance of the object of research at the present stage of the development of modern English and Spanish languages.

The course work consists of introduction, two main parts: a theoretical and a practical part, conclusion and references.

The theoretical part, firstly, provides us with the general overview of the English and Spanish gerund, its basic forms and functions, including the examples.

The practical part provides us with the examples of the usage of the gerund in the English and Spanish newspapers like «The Times», «The Guardian», «El Mundo» and «El País».

The conclusion of the research work provides us with some results from the scientific investigations made within the main part of the work. It is hoped that you will be able to use the new grammar material by practice and that this work may help in addressing the acute current problems of the gerund at the present stage of its development.

THE GERUND AS A PART OF SPEECH IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH

1.1 Definition of the Gerund

 

This chapter is devoted to the consideration of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages that is the non-finite form of the verb, which is an integral part of the verbal system of the both languages. Basically, it shares many similarities among both languages, but at the same time there are obvious distinctions as well as peculiarities that are reflected in the certain language picture of the world. At first, it is necessary to consider what the verb generally means and what place it occupies in the general grammatical system of both languages.

Nowadays, nobody would deny that each part of speech has its own and particular characteristics, which have different meanings, forms and functions. The verb in the grammatical systems of both languages definitely occupies a leading position due to the various factors. Firstly, it considers as the principal part of speech that can be characterized as a word denoting actions or the states of being. To add to it, among its common characteristics can be mentioned that it has the category of tense, aspect and voice and according to the function, it is defined as a word making up the predicate of the sentence. As u rule, the above mentioned characteristic traits play the main role as the basic elements in a variety of languages, including English and Spanish as from the grammatical point of view sentences always require verbs to indicate different kinds of the actions.

To begin with, let’s remember what a verb is. A verb is a part of speech that denotes an action or state. In general, according to Ilyish B.L., verbs in the English and Spanish languages fall into two basic groups, depending on the function they perform in the sentence — the finite forms and non-finite forms of the verb [27, p.178]. It must be taken into account that the non-finite forms of the verb are seen as forms that have lost some verbal characteristics and simultaneously have acquired some nominal, adjectival or adverbial features. The non-finite forms of the verb perform different functions and are also considered as the verbals, but this term does not relate to the infinitive, only to usually to the participles and the gerunds.

The English non-finite verb forms are considered in all textbooks on theoretical and practical grammar dedicated to the formation of the modern English language, nevertheless, some researchers do not share the same opinion about their names. For example, M. A. Blokh names them verbids, B. A. Ilyish – verbals, A. I. Smirnitsky uses the term «nominal verb forms» [2, p.137].

In general there are distinguished three main types of the non-finite verb forms in the both languages: the gerund, the infinitive and the participle. As they are not able to express person, number or mood unlike the finite forms of the verbs, V. L. Kaushanskaya considers that they cannot perform the role of a predicate, though are used as a part thereof  [13, p.159]. The non-finite forms of the verb have tense and voice distinctions, but they generally differs from the finite verb forms.

According to our bibliography list, some researchers, for example, D. Leach, R. Kverk do not consider the gerund as the non-finite form of the verb at all, but it is interesting to note that some other researchers, on the contrary, distinguish four non-finite forms of the verb [16, p.285]. Now we will focus on the definition of the infinitive in the English language and gradually move on to the rules of what it is exactly in Spanish.

Well, our next step in this work is to focus our attention on the definition of the gerund mainly in the English and Spanish languages as they are considered to be widely spoken all over the world, catching the attention by the majority of the prominent linguists in the fields of grammar. By the way, O. K. Vasilyeva-Shvede and G. V. Stepanov combine the infinitive, participle and the gerund in the Spanish grammar in a variety of names like:

  • formas nominales
  • derivados verbales
  • verboides
  • formas no personales del verbo
  • formas auxiliares del verbo [1, p.159]

The special attention is given to the term formas auxiliares as the authors disagree with the point of view of A.J. Perez-Rioja, the Spanish historian and writer who considers the infinitive, the participle and the gerund as the auxiliary forms, on the grounds that they supposedly help the finite forms of the verb whereas it should be exactly the opposite. The finite forms of the verbs “help” the non-finite forms of the verb which express the content of the action by their semantics, but they are not able to interface with the subject due to the lack of the verbal categories (person, number and mood) or express the tense, voice, mood and form as a grammatical category.

The English gerund may be called any verb with the ending –ing that is generally functions like a noun. Well, in order to make its main idea clear, the following examples are provided:

E.g. I read every day before going to bed.

E.g. Reading is one of her favorite leisure activities.

E.g. She likes reading.

Gerunds may look exactly like the verbs but they are actually nouns. The verb denotes generally actions but sometimes we need just talking about the actions but not do it. Now it becomes evident that in the second and third examples it is talked about the action thus it does not mean that she is reading at the moment but common actions; things that she enjoy doing. Otherwise speaking, she is referring to the action of reading as a noun with the help of such part of speech as the gerund.

By the way, it is important not to confuse the gerund with the present participle as they have identical forms but functions absolutely different in the English language. The gerund in English functions as a noun while the present participle functions as an adjective and forms the continuous tenses. The gerund in the English language is one of the most complex parts of speech thus the question of identifying the gerund is complicated by the homonymy of this morphological category with the participle. In many grammars, the gerund and the participle can be combined under the same general name «ing forms» and the syntactic function serves as a criterion for their differentiation. One of the formal distinguishing features that differs the gerund from the participle is the presence of a certain prepositive element like the preposition or the noun. Unlike the participle, the gerund is preceded in the text by prepositions, by nouns in the possessive or common case, or by the possessive pronouns.

In addition, the English gerund, as well as the Spanish, according to T. K. Tsvetkova, is able to express the temporal characteristics of the event about which the story is being told. The researcher points out that the perfect forms of the gerund are used to emphasize that the action expressed by the gerund is complete and precedes the action expressed by the predicate. The adverbial meanings of the syntactic function of the Spanish gerund are much broader that the English ones [24, p.285].

Now, let us consider the gerund’s idea in the Spanish language. In general, if you notice in the Spanish language the verb with the ending –ndo, it may definitely mean that you deal with the gerund (gerundio) that normally used in compound forms of the verb as well as adverbially:

E.g. Estoy trabajando ( I am working)

E.g. Salió corriendo ( He left running)

The Spanish gerund is a change to the verb’s ending to talk about actions in progress or simultaneous actions. Moreover, it corresponds to the -ing structure of the English language, with the basic difference that in Spanish, the ending will not be -ing but -ando or -iendo depending on the verb’s form in infinitive. This way, the verb like cantar (to sing) would change to cantando (singing), whereas a verb like comer (to eat) would change to comiendo (eating). It is important to remember that the gerund in the Spanish language is not normally used in a way as the gerund in the English language. Some English learners may certainly be confused with the gerund’s main meaning as it has some peculiarities in contrast to the Spanish gerund that absolutely must be taken into account. As a rule, it is important to emphasize that the English gerund is a noun that has the following structure: a verb + ending –ing while just ending in -ing does not make it a gerund, it can also be the present participle. Take a look at the following examples:

E.g. She likes dancing. ( the gerund)

E.g. She is dancing. (the participle)

In the first case, dancing is a gerund, used as a noun as it the thing that she is fond of doing while in the second example dancing performs the role of the participle, or in other words,  the part of the present progressive verb tense. In contrast to the English gerund, the Spanish gerund has some differences in structure; it ends in -ando or -iendo. It is not the same as the English one as it primarily cannot be used as a noun, thus in case of using the verb as a noun the infinitive is used.

E.g. Me gusta bailar. – I like to dance (the noun)

E.g. Estoy bailando – I’m dancing (the verb)

Now it is known how to form the Spanish gerund as it is only necessary mainly to modify the endings of the Spanish verbs nevertheless it should be remembered that it does not relate to the all existing language verbs, particularly for stem changing verbs. As a rule, such kinds of verbs usually despite the changes in endings change the stem (the first part of the verb) while conjugating:

E.g. Repetir ( to repeat) – repitiendo

E.g. Sentir (to feel) — sintiendo

E.g. Decir (to say) — diciendo

Now the attention is focused in more detail on the features of the English gerund. The English gerund has both the nominal and verbal properties that we are going to discuss below. At first, the attention is paid to the nominal features of the gerund among which can be mentioned the following:

  • The nominal character of the gerund in the English language is manifested in its syntactic functions, it can carry out the function of subject, object, and predicate;
  • can be preceded by different prepositions;
  • can be modified by nouns in the possessive case or by possessive pronouns.

As for the verbal features of the gerund, it has much in common with the participle:

  • The gerund of transitive verbs can take the direct object;
  • can be also modified by the adverb;
  • it has tense and voice distinctions (2 tenses and voices);

Sometimes people may be a bit confused with the appropriate use of the gerund and the present participle as it may seem difficult to distinguish them. Both verbals have the identical ending «-ing» however they do not share the same functions. In most cases the differentiation between them does not present any difficulties. As it has been remarked earlier, the gerund, unlike the participle can be preceded by prepositions, can be also modified by nouns in the possessive case or by  possessive pronouns and it can be used in the function of a subject, object, and predicative. In the function of an attribute and of an adverbial modifier both the English gerund and the participle can be used, nevertheless the gerund in these functions is always preceded by a preposition.

On the other hand, in general it can be supposed that the distinction between both parts of speech may present some difficulties. In some cases it is not always easy to distinguish the gerund as part of a compound noun and the participle used as an attribute to a noun.

Well, to be short, both verbals coincides in form, verb features, both morphological (voice and time categories) and syntactical (verb combinability). However, there are some differences that we primarily need to discuss shortly:

  1. The gerund has the nominal character in comparison to the participle I that has the adjective characteristics thus they carry out different syntactic functions. The gerund in the English language is used as a subject and an object, while participle I can never have these two syntactic functions. The function of predicative has the following difference:  participle I as predicative gives qualitative characteristics to the subject, thus tending towards an adjective, but the gerund in this function does not qualify the subject, it identifies it by revealing its meaning.
  2. Both parts of speech may be used as the adverbial modifiers, but the gerund can be placed with prepositions while the participle can be used in this syntactic function without them. However, it can be is introduced by conjunctions. Both parts of speech are interchangeable when used as adverbials of time describing the verb through simultaneous or prior actions:

E.g. Entering the kitchen, Ann opened the window.

  1. In case of functioning in the predicative construction (has its own subject), the subject of a gerund is expressed mostly by a possessive pronoun or a noun in the Genitive Case or by the personal pronoun in the Objective Case or noun in the Common Case to emphasize the doer of the action in case of the Half-Gerundial Construction while the subject of Participle I is expressed either by the personal pronoun the Objective Case or by a noun in the Common Case.
  2. In the function of an attribute in preposition gerund expresses the destination of the object, while participle I expresses an action performed by a person (or thing): a singing boy (a boy who sings).

Sometimes the gerund may be confused with the verbal noun, that also has the ending
«–ing», but they have obvious differences in their usage. For example, the gerund has the double character (nominal and verbal) in comparison to the verbal noun that has only the nominal one. The second important distinction is that the gerund cannot be placed with articles and has not plural form, while the verbal noun can and is used in plural.

Like all the verbals the gerund can form predicative constructions, i. e. constructions in which the verbal element expressed by the gerund is in predicate relation to the nominal element expressed by a noun or pronoun:

E.g. Sam doesn’t like her boyfriend’s going off without present.

The nominal element of such constructions is usually rendered in various methods. For example, if it means a living being it may be expressed by a noun in the genitive case or by a possessive pronoun or by a noun in the common case. In the second situation the nominal character may mean the lifeless thing that is rendered by a noun in the common case or by a possessive pronoun.

The nominal element of the construction can also be expressed by a pronoun which has no case distinctions, such as all, this, that, both each, something.

Summarizing the information above, concerning the definition of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages, it may be concluded that on the one hand, the English and Spanish gerund has similar names, on the other hand, they mainly do not make it in the sentence the same way. The Spanish gerund is regarded as the verbal form that never behaves like a noun in the sentence structure in comparison with the English gerund where it functions generally like a noun. It may also be noticed that the Spanish gerund has some similarities in its structure with the English present participle.

 

1.2 Forms of the Gerund

 

In general, it can be said that the English and Spanish languages have the identical forms of the gerund. The English and Spanish gerund has two forms, but at the same time the English gerund can be active and passive:

  • Simple
  • Perfect

Therefore, the English gerund may be also called like the simple gerund or the passive gerund.

Table 1.  Functions of the English Gerund in the English Newspapers

Gerund Active Voice Passive Voice
Simple V + ing

E.g. Reading

Being + V3

E.g. Being read

Perfect Having + V3

E.g. Having read

Having been + V3

E.g. Having been read

 

The simple active and passive form of the English gerund is used for an action that occurs simultaneously with the action of the verb-predicate while the perfect and the perfect passive gerund forms are used for the action that precedes the verb-predicate. However, the forms of the English gerund may be combined with no difference in meaning. The simple gerund form is considered to be the most widely used while the second one is a rare case and may be seen generally in writing:

E.g. She considers moving abroad.( simple)

E.g. I do not like being asked such questions.( passive)

E.g. He denied having paid for this.(perfect)

E.g. I could not remember ever having been asked to do it.( perfect passive)

According to I. A. Dyshlevaya, the simple form of the Spanish gerund is formed using the suffixes -ando for verbs I conjugation, — iendo II and III conjugation [28, p.147]:

     E.g. Siempre me mira sonriend — He always looks at me smiling.( simple)

The complex form is formed from the simple form of the gerund of the auxiliary verb haber and the participle of the semantic verb: habiendo bailado, habiendo comido, habiendo salido. In some verbs of the third conjugation, there is a narrowing of the vowel at the base: morir-muriendo, dormir-durmiendo, poder-pudiendo; pedir-pidiendo,seguir-siguiendo,vestir-vistiendo. The Spanish gerund is always formed from verbs. If it is a verb of the first conjugation, then instead of the ending —ar is added the suffix —ando. For verbs of the second and third conjugation, different rule applies: it is removed the endings -er or —ir and add the suffix -iendo.

    E.g. Habiendo leído el artículo, me indigné — Having read the article, I was outraged (perfect)

In the Spanish language the gerund is commonly used when referring to actions in progress that have the name in English like progressive tenses or perífrasis durativas in Spanish. In general in such cases in Spain it is talked about actions in progress by using the verb estar + gerund or it can be replaced by other ones like continuar — to continue, venir — to come, comenzar — to start,
ir — to go.
This subject would be addressed thoroughly in the next section.

 

1.3 Syntactic Functions of the Gerund in the Sentence

 

After considering the information concerning the definition of the English and Spanish gerund, its key characteristics including primary forms, we moved on to the basic syntactic functions of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages. Undoubtedly, the English and Spanish gerund is capable of performing various syntactic functions in a simple sentence and our task is to identify them taking into consideration the views of the leading researchers.

As it was learned from the data above, the English gerund mainly names actions or states and functions as a noun in the sentence in contrast to the Spanish gerund. However, it can be remarked that the gerund in the English language involves verb properties thus it certainly may have active or passive and perfect forms, may take the direct object and definitely may be modified by the adverbs. By the way, it would be important to note there, that differences in the English language between various non-finite forms of the verbs, including nouns can be lost in the translations to the other languages (for example, to the Russian language).

Owning to the fact that it has noun properties, it can functions like it in the sentences of the English language. According to V. L. Kaushanskaya, among its basic functions can be mentioned the following:

  • the subject of a sentence
  • the object of a sentence
  • the attribute
  • the adverbial modifier
  • is used after prepositions
  • is used after mixed expressions
  • there are cases when in can also be used after verbs [13, p.112]

In case of functioning like nouns, the English gerund is placed after prepositions or just like nouns or pronouns they may be also placed after possessive forms:

E.g. Her fear of gaining weight is getting on my nerves.

E.g. Ann’s coming home so early pleasantly surprises us.

Actually, sometimes there is no need to use the possessive forms as it may be obviously is who the action performer that as a rule expresses by using the gerund thus there no reason to emphasize it. Take a look at the following examples in order to realize it:

    E.g. Now she knows that dating with him was a mistake. (Her dating)

Well, it’s obvious that in the first example the matter is about her dating, so the possessive form can be safely omitted. One of the main distinctions that differs the gerund from the noun in the English language is that they cannot be used in the plural or with articles. Therefore, in such cases it is difficult to be confused with the noun or the gerund as it becomes definitely clear that such characteristic traits as an –ing form or an article standing before belongs to the noun. There are also many cases when it would be better to choose the noun instead of the gerund. For example:

E.g.  loud roaring of the lions

E.g. the loading of cargo

E.g. during the flight ( instead of flying)

The English gerund functioning like the subject in the English sentence may be alone or dependent words may also follow it. The English gerund also functions like the predicative noun in cases when it follows after the linking –be therefore it stands in the predicative of the complex nominal predicate:

E.g. Smoking can destroy your health. ( subject)

E.g. Leaving without saying goodbye was unforgivable. ( subject)

E.g. My only wish is flying into space. ( predicative)

E.g. Being at her place is like being in the art museum. (the first case – subject; the second case — the predicative)

As it has already been mentioned above, the gerunds in the English language may also act like the direct object and prepositional object. In particular, in the process of functioning like objects the English gerunds mainly used after a variety of verbs to many to list here. To add to it, there are an enormous number of phrasal verbs as well as adjectives and participles requiring definite prepositions followed by the English gerund. By the way, sometimes it can be observed that there are no prepositions after adjectives. The examples of the above mentioned data are presented below:

E.g. I could not help eating the Christmas turkey.(object)

E.g. My children enjoy learning the Spanish language. (object)

E.g. My wife insisted on buying her the dress. (prepositional object)

E.g. I would like to apologize for making you sad. (prepositional object)

E.g. I am not good at getting up early. (prepositional object)

E.g. Ann is sorry for giving you serious problems. (prepositional object)

E.g. This new comedy is not worth watching. (without preposition after adjectives)

Finally, we came to the last syntactic functions that gerund constantly perform in the English sentences like the attribute and the adverbial modifier that also have undoubtedly a plenty of nouns and prepositions too many to mention there. While functioning like the noun, the English gerund usually places after it, thereby modifying the noun. Among the common prepositions can be mentioned for, in, of, at.

The special attention should be given to the words of phrases containing the preposition of as it is considered to be the common in usage. Performing the function of the adverbial modifier, the English gerund as a rule accompanied by prepositions as well and may indicate different things like when or how (in which manner) the actions may be done. It is important to mark that in each case the gerund is placed after certain prepositions, including the compound ones. The usage of the gerund as an attribute and adverbial modifier is described in the sentences below:

E.g. The chance of finding the golden ticket is rather small. ( attribute)

E.g. The risk of losing the way in this area is too high for us. ( attribute)

E.g. Kate does not have any experience in driving the car and she does not have any reasons for doing it. ( attribute)

E.g. How about discussing this question after eating? (adverbial modifier)

E.g. Megan went to school in spite of feeling sick. (adverbial modifier)

E.g. I am going to stay there for the purpose of seeing my idol.  (adverbial modifier)

Summarizing the whole data concerning the syntactic functions of the gerund, it should be better to compress the information for better understanding:

  1. The gerund as subject as a rule can denote permanent/recurrent actions. In this role it takes the initial position in the sentence and is used only in declarative sentences: Eating sweets is a pleasure. And furthermore, the gerund in the English language may be additionally introduced by the «it» that usually is noticed at the beginning of the sentence. It introduces the subject that is expressed by the gerund:

E.g. It is no good hurrying the guests.

The gerund as part of the predicate may function in two types (nominal/verbal). Well, at first, as part of a compound nominal predicate (predicative) can be used with link verbs, secondly, as part of a compound aspect predicate it is used after aspect verbs, denoting a phase of the action expressed by the gerund:

E.g. Ann doesn’t feel like talking to Sam. (compound nominal predicate)

E.g. Ann and Sam kept on talking.(compound verbal aspect predicate)

The gerund is also used as a direct / prepositional object. In this role, it is usually a complement to a verb /adjective, therefore it completes the meaning of them:

E.g. Ann and Sam are responsible for taking the decisions.

The gerund may also perform the function of the attribute. In such cases it modifies abstract nouns (hope, idea):

E.g. I don’t approve of the idea of his being sent there.

Finally we came to the last function of the English gerund: the gerund as the adverbial modifier that is generally used with the preposition. In these cases it can function the following ways:

  • an adverbial modifier of manner ( prepositions by/in);
  • an adverbial modifier of time (on, in, at, before, after);
  • an adverbial modifier of cause (because of, for, for fear of, on account of);
  • an adverbial modifier of concession (in spite of (despite);
  • an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances( without, instead of);
  • an adverbial modifier of condition (without, but for);
  • an adverbial modifier of purpose (for, for fear of, for the sake of, for the purpose of);
  • an adverbial modifier of comparison;

E.g. In examining the bond the customs officers found some drugs.

E.g. He went out without saying a single word.

E.g. He always finds time to play with his son in spite of being busy.

After a detailed consideration of the English basic syntactic functions of the gerund, our task is to learn them in the same way in the Spanish language in order to realize its differences and similarities on the present stage of its development. The system of the non-finite forms of the verb is one of the core elements of the grammatical structure of the Spanish language. This is a constant source for adding new analytical forms to the Spanish verbal system that are formed with the participle, the gerund and the infinitive. All syntactic functions as the main and secondary parts of the sentence covered by the non-finite forms of the verb; they are based on the conflicting interaction of verbal and nominal properties, thus the correlation between them is evident.

Well, it is rather an interesting issue relating where and how use the gerund in the Spanish language as its structure formation differs from the English gerund. According to Lagunilla F. M., a variety of syntactic functions are belonged to the Spanish gerunds like the following ones:

  • External adjuncts
  • Internal adjuncts
  • Predicative constructions
  • Verbal periphrasis [29, p.321].

At first, it is necessary to give great emphasis on the first function that the Spanish gerund performs in the sentences as it shows different meanings. Among them P. Muysken notes the following:

  • temporality
  • causality
  • condition
  • concession [35, p. 42].

According to the researcher, the adverbial clauses are the major function of the gerund in the Spanish language. M. Niño-Murcia agrees with the above view and considers that among Spanish-speaking countries the gerunds are used as equivalents to adverbs [34, p. 93]. The second group of adjuncts can be characterized as:

  • modal
  • illocutive
  • locative
  • lexicalized

The researcher Lagunilla F.M. considers that this group of gerunds do not have own subject and they are not able to make the reference for it or to the direct object of the verb that the Spanish gerund modify. The third group of constructions namely the predicative can divides into direct complement (verbs, accepting the Spanish gerund as the predicate of direct object) express intentions or perceptions (want, need); nominal phrase (accepts the predicative Spanish gerund) are nouns obtained from the perception verbs (see, hear); independent Spanish gerunds that functions like verbal heads, from the syntactic point of view they are con controlled due to its independence in the sentence [29, p. 165]. The last group of gerunds is considered as the widespread one in the Spanish language which consists of some verbs that together form the complex language unit having the function of the predicate. M. Vilinsky states that the first one is the auxiliary verb (estar) while the second is the principal one that gives the periphrasis its semantic meaning and it is a non-finite form.

It becomes evident that the Spanish gerund is generally used in adverbial clauses and P. Muysken highlights that the first feature in the gerund position as it can be placed before or after the main clause and the second feature is the subject of it as the gerund can have either the same or other subject than the main clause [35, p. 93].

Nowadays  a lot of attention is devoted to the adverbial meaning of the Spanish gerund as local populations use it that are analogue to an adverb due to the verb modification of the sentences with them:

E.g. Faltando Pedro, la fiesta resultaría aburrida — Missing Pedro, the party would be boring ( conditional meaning)

E.g. Lo haya estado  nunca  de nadie,  exceptuando Lytton — Has never been from anyone except Lytton (lexicalized gerund)

E.g. Vi a Juan cerrando la puerta — I saw John closing the door ( direct complement)

 Estoy contando algo muy  serio – I’m telling you something very serious.

One of the important things that distinguish the Spanish gerund from the English one is that it has verbal properties thus it cannot be the subject of the sentence. I. A. Dyshlevaya classifies the gerund constructions the following way:

  • estar + gerundio
  • llevar + gerundio (hace que)
  • seguir + gerundio [28, p. 147].

The function of the predicate is one of the characteristic syntactic functions of the verb properties of the gerund that is done only in the combination with the function verbs. Now in order to realize how they are functioning in the Spanish sentences, the general short characteristics are provided. The first popular construction like estar + gerundio as a rule denotes an action, occurring at the speech moment, at the present period of time or when the speaker would like to emphasize the constant action:

E.g. Este mes estamos aprendiendo mucho — This month we are learning a lot (present period of time)

E.g. ¡Estás fumando otra vez! —  You’re smoking again! ( constant action)

The second Spanish gerund construction is lleavar + gerundio or its synonym hace (period of time) que, denoting an action that goes on for a while. By the way, it is noticed that the adverbial modifier is usually places between llevar and the gerund.  I. A. Dyshlevaya highlights that there are cases when the gerunds in the Spanish language in such constructions may be omitted [28, p. 150]. The examples of such cases are provided below:

E.g. Llevo un día, una semana, mucho tiempo trabajando. — I’ve been working a day, a week, a long time.

E.g. Llevas los días ,escribiendo. — You’ve been writing for days.

E.g. Llevo un año (trabajando) con este chico.  — I’ve been working with this guy for a year.

The third gerund construction of the Spanish language is seguir + gerundio that generally express the long lasting action which gradually continue developing. This construction like the previous one is tending to omit the gerund:

E.g. Sigo estidiando allí — I’m still doing it there

E.g. Sigo  viviendo allí — I’m still living there

According to the same researcher, the gerund in the Spanish language has some characteristic traits that should be taken into account in the process of learning the language. At first, it should be stressed that the Spanish gerund has the temporal meaning haciendo hecho (previous action) and has the voice category hacienda –siendo mucho. Secondly, it has the performer of the action that may coincide or not with the performer of the predicate; the Spanish gerund may also have the objects:

E.g. Diciéndolo, lloré — Saying it, I cried

E.g. Anda pidiéndome favores — He’s asking me for favors.

Thirdly, the gerund in the Spanish language can be used in a variety of verbal constructions and in the sentences are used mostly as adverbial modifiers

E.g. Anda buscando trabajo — He’s looking for work

E.g. Esta trabajando — He’s working

E.g. Lo dijo mirándome — He said it looking at me. (adverbial modifier)

From the grammatical point of view, these days there is an increasing interest among researchers to the non-finite forms of the verb in many languages but generally in English and Spanish as the special position is belonged to the idea of the verb.

What is more, it has an exceptional place in linguistics by reason of its extensive system and the important role which the verb plays in the sentence construction of languages. In general, the non-finite forms of the verb, as a rule, are not used in the role of a predicate in the sentence, but they can form a part of it. In comparison to the finite forms of the verb, they are not able to express person, number or mood.

According to the results of the first chapter, the English and Spanish languages shares mainly the same grammatical system of the non-finite forms of the verb that is characterized by the three categorical forms — the infinitive, the gerund and the participle. The main attention of this work is focused primarily on the concept of the gerund, its forms and functions as it would be impossible to imagine the grammatical systems of the English and Spanish languages without the gerund.

The gerund in the English language is one of the most complex parts of speech thus the question of identifying the gerund is complicated by the homonymy of this morphological category with the participle. Sometimes, language learners may be confused with the gerunds and the present participles as they have identical forms but functions absolutely different in the English language. One of the formal distinguishing features that differs the gerund from the participle is the presence of a certain prepositive element like the preposition or the noun. Unlike the participle, the gerund is preceded in the text by prepositions, by nouns in the possessive or common case, or by the possessive pronouns.

Summarizing the results, regarding the definition of the English and Spanish gerunds, including its forms and functions, the general conclusion may be drawn. Basing on the theoretical data of the leading researchers in the fields of English and Spanish grammar, it became known that the gerund in the English language is formed from verbs with the ending –ing (being) while the Spanish gerund has the ending –ndo (viviendo). The English gerunds are generally formed from all the existing language verbs, however modals constitute an exception. The gerunds in both languages also have two identical forms but its functioning in the sentences has considerable differences. The English gerund despite having simple and perfect form may also be active and passive while the Spanish gerund has only two forms.

Having considered the basic syntactic functions of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages, it became absolutely clear that the English gerund has more functions in the sentence in contrast to the Spanish gerund which is limited by the verbal constructions. There is no doubt that the English gerund can be used in a variety of other cases, but in the framework of this research the main attention was concentrated on the basic and principal features of its usage in the sentences.  One other significant distinction that may draw particular attention is that the Spanish gerund in contrast to the English gerund cannot be the predicate in the sentence as it has verbal properties. The gerund in the English language in its turn is more flexible as it can be used like nouns in the different situations.

 

 

THE USAGE OF THE GERUND IN THE ENGLISH AND SPANISH NEWSPAPERS

2.1The Functioning of the Gerund in the English Newspapers

 

Nowadays it is hard to imagine our life without mass media as it undoubtedly occupies a leading position in the information sphere especially among the British and Spanish languages. There is no doubt that the volume of daily information in English and Spanish is constantly increasing as there are a huge number of people that are belonged to the information sphere, providing the world populations with daily reports on actual catching topics. The printed media remains one of the oldest and effective ways to communicate the freshness news. What is more, the other important advantage of reading newspapers is that they help to provide with extra details as well as commentaries and background information. There is no doubt that people may choose it according to their interests as newspapers convey various political views, interests and levels of education. It is interesting to note that such kind of mass media presents and comments the news more detailed compared to other kinds of mass media thus they cover much more events and news with their large circulation report, various kinds of topics may supply any sort of information.

Newspaper style can be defined as a system of interrelated language elements aimed at performing a certain communicative function, primarily the informative function and the function of influencing on the readership. Summarizing the information about the printed media, it may be said that it is a wonderful source of massive information that allows being aware of the events in faraway parts of the world without even visiting them. As a result, they continue changing human lives for the better, supplying them with a full coverage of commercial, financial and public affairs. Having considered the role of newspapers in languages, we may safely assume that newspapers play a significant role in modern society as people usually start their days with them and its headlines in order to get piece of knowledge since the beginning of the day. They considered being one of the most influential, affordable and easily available sources of sharing information, covering a broad range of topics.

The appearance of the first English newspapers dates back to the XVII century. The earliest of the English periodicals is the Weekly News that was firstly published in 1622. The first English newspapers were only a means of spreading the information as the comments began to appear later. However, by the middle of the 18th century, the British newspapers resembled modern ones in many ways and contained the foreign and local news, advertisements, advertisements, and articles with comments. However, it is known that not the all materials that may be found in the press are related to the newspaper style. Only materials that serve the function of informing the reader and giving an assessment of the published information can belong to it. The English newspaper style can be defined as a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means that are perceived as a separate linguistic unit and serve to inform and instruct the reader. According to D. Reah, the information in an English newspaper is transmitted by:

  • brief news
  • reports
  • articles that are purely informative in nature
  • advertisements [38 p. 24]

In the second chapter of this course paper the analysis is conducted with the purpose of the overviewing of the basic syntactic functions of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages basing on the materials of the relevant newspaper articles from the famous newspapers of both languages. In other words, the practical usage of the syntactic functions of the gerund was considered and the frequency of its functioning was identified in both languages.

The main attention primarily is focused on the gerund in the English language and its functioning in the relevant online website English newspapers like «The Times» and «The Guardian» that covers relevant topics. The choice of the materials is defined by their current status in the world as they are considered to be leading among the British press.

«The Times» is a daily newspaper in the UK, one of the most popular British newspapers around the world as it has been published since 1785. «The Times» is currently published by «Times Newspapers Limited» and is belonged to the «News Corporation». By the way, the Sunday version of the newspaper is called «The Sunday Times». It has the online presence since 1999 that is aimed at daily readers, including iPad and Android editions of the both newspapers. It is interesting to note that visits to the websites are rapidly increasing.

«The Guardian» is a daily newspaper in the United Kingdom that was founded in Manchester in 1821; by the way, its first name was «The Manchester Guardian». In 1959, it changed its name to the current one, and in 1964, the editorial office moved to London. The website of the newspaper is one of the most visited among other kinds of the British newspapers and it definitely determines our selection.

Having analyzed the syntactic functions of the gerund in the English newspapers like «The Times» and «The Guardian» it can be concluded that the gerund of the English language generally perform all syntactic functions that were considered in the theoretical part. For the practical purposes of the analysis and for the better understanding of the data, the following table 2. is presented.

Table 2.  Functions of the English Gerund in the English Newspapers                       

SYNTACTIC FUNCTION FORM EXAMPLES OF ITS FUNCTIONING IN THE ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS
SUBJECT

 

 

SIMPLE ACTIVE «Talking can spread covid — 19 as much as coughing»

«Maintaining such a high level of…»

«Bringing the power of AMP…»

«Tackling Inequality With an Entrepreneur’s Eye»

«Making Interactive Art»

«Fostering Independence»

«Recovering from Historical Amnesia»

«Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture»

«Launching Our New iOS App»

«Reviewing 2017 and Looking Ahead to 2018»

«Solving the Problem of Poverty in Third-World Countries»

«Changing the Way We View Horses»

«Cooking Like an Iron Chef»

«Designing Logos with Illustrator»

«Sending Direct Mail That Works»

«Watching TV Late At Night Causes Kids Problems At School»

 

PREDICATIVE SIMPLE ACTIVE «Trump can ran for president to shake up the existing political order»

«He campaigned as an outsider giving voice to..»

«To witness his swearing…»

«Biden’s overflowing empathy…»

«…that imposed a five-year lobbying…»

«In the halting march to…»

 

DIRECT OBJECT /

PREPOSITIONAL OBJECT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE ACTIVE

 

 

 

 

 

«Enjoy Life And Enjoy Studying …»

«French President Concerned About Starting  Trade War»

«…focused on countering…»

«…is considering partnering…»

Medical staff are used to dealing with death…»

«…warned of a growing geopolitical backlash…»

«UK government accused of discriminating

«This court case is about defending women’s rights and showing…»

«…he focus on helping businesses…»

«…UK on brink of securing…»

«You need masks, you need distancing …»

 

ATTRIBUTE

 

SIMPLE ACTIVE

 

 

 

«…with prevailing principles…»

«…for advertising purposes…»

«…the growing protectionism…»

«…the process for imposing tariffs…»

«…in resorting to the “nuclear option…»

«…on suspicion of leaking information…»

«…asking for assistance in «identifying and preventing the ongoing…»

«…chance of becoming infected…»

«A petition demanding the issue…»

«Stars including One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson…»

«UK businesses in upcoming budget…»

«…their risk of becoming infected…»

«…with swindling Trump supporters

a rising star…»

«Outgoing president…»

«Misleading speech…»

 

ADVERBAL MODIFIER

 

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE ACTIVE «Instead of Eating Mead, Dieters Advised To Choose Fish»

«…by withholding an equivalence decision…»

«After demanding an international solution…»

«…instead of waving a red flag in Trump’s face…»

«The really simple guide to switching your health insurance…»

«By remaining in the EU single market

«…thanks to lingering particles…»

«…before becoming the head of Uber’s rival unit…

«After climbing the steps…»

«…by refusing to attend…»

 

 

2.2The Functioning of the Gerund in the Spanish Newspapers

 

The next task of the research is to identify the usage of the gerund in the relevant Spanish newspapers. By the way, the Spanish printed media is divided into national and regional newspapers. Among the most popular newspapers can be mentioned «El País», «El Mundo» and «ABC». For the practical materials of the analysis were used articles from the leading online Spanish website newspapers like «El Mundo» and «El País». The choice of the newspapers is undoubtedly determined by its widespread popularity among the Spanish-speaking countries. It is worth emphasizing that the selected for the analysis Spanish newspapers are known all over the country in national and many regional editions and occupies the leading and important positions among the other varieties of the Spanish press. ».

By the way, the first newspaper is an authoritative printed daily in Spanish, which has been published since 1989 in Madrid. The newspaper is distributed throughout Spain in national and many regional editions and occupies the second place among other varieties of the Spanish printed press. There is also an electronic version of the newspaper «El Mundo», which is a separate and independent publication; some materials are partially borrowed from the printed version of the newspaper. The newspaper «El País» (The Country) is also one of the widely read in Spain that has been published since 1976.

Similarly, the table 3. was made concerning the functioning of the gerund in the Spanish newspapers for the practical purposes of the analysis and for the clear understanding of the data.

Table 3. Functions of the English Gerund in the Spanish Newspapers

FUNCTIONS FORM EXAMPLES OF ITS FUNCTIONING IN THE SPANISH NEWSPAPERS
ESTAR + GERUNDIO

 

 

SIMPLE/PERFECT ACTIVE/PASSIVE

 

«… que está motivando un segundo proceso de impeachment contra él…» — «… that is motivating a second impeachment process against him…»

«¿Por qué me estás grabando — «…Why are you recording me?…»

«que ya están habilitando camas en los hospitales» — «… who are already setting up beds in hospitals…»

«… pensaba que le estaba grabando una persona con un teléfono móvil…» — «… I thought he was being taped by a person with a mobile phone…»

«Los dos más jóvenes habían estado … de la Comunidad de Madrid» — «… The two youngest had been … from the Community of Madrid»

«Los investigadores creen que podrían haber estado celebrando el cumpleaños …»
«
Researchers believe they might have been celebrating the birthday…»

«…donde se estaba reparando una caldera…» — «… where a boiler was being repaired…»

«…en la localización de personas están buscando supervivientes…» — «… in locating people are looking for survivors…»

«Uno de los fallecidos es un feligrés que estaba ayudando en la reparación» — «One of the deceased is a parishioner who was helping in the repair»

«con perros que están buscando personas entre» — «with dogs that are looking for people between»

«El sector aéreo ya se está coordinando para poder» — « The air sector is already coordinating to be able to»

«Muchos de ellos literalmente estaban esperando que Trump» — « Many of them were literally waiting for Trump»

«El presidente … está realizando su último vuelo» — « The president … is making his last flight»

«La gente está reaccionando como» — « People are reacting like…»

«estaba en el Capitolio esperando al presidente electo» — « I was at the Capitol waiting for the president-elect»

«Estamos tomando» — «We’re taking»

«porque en Israel sí se está suministrando»

«Nos estamos habituando a almacenar»

«estamos viviendo con la pandemia del coronavirus»

 «…está recuperando…» — «…is recovering…»

«…¡Estás intentando robar a mis accionistas!» — «…You’re trying to rob my shareholders!»

«…y estamos esperando a que nos lo diga…» — «… and we’re waiting for him to tell us…»

«Casa Blanca estaba pidiendo disculpas…»
«
White House was apologizing…»

SEGUIR / CONTINUAR + GERUNDIO SIMPLE ACTIVE/PASSIVE «… ha repudiado a miles de murcianos que aún hoy siguen esperando su turno» — «… he has repudiated thousands of Murcians who are still waiting for their turn today»

«…España registra un nuevo récord … incidencia acumulada sigue subiendo hasta 736» — «… Spain records a new record … cumulative incidence continues to rise to 736»

« IA es otro indicador que sigue creciendo y se sitúa ya en 736,23…» — «IA s another indicator that continues to grow and stands at 736.23…»

 « sigue aumentando aunque un poco más discretamente, pero sin parar por ahora» — « it continues to increase although a little more discreetly, but without stopping for now»

«sigue subiendo del 53,80% del día anterior»
«
continues to rise from 53.80% the day before »

«Aunque Emilia ha seguido intentando contactar» — « Although Emilia has kept trying to contact »

«Seguirá perpetuando sus mentiras y cuestionando la legitimidad» — « He will continue to perpetuate his lies and question legitimacy »

«El acceso seguirá siendo gratuito…» — « Access will remain free …»

«…deberá seguir creciendo» — «…must continue to grow…»

«…están aumentando el número» — «…are increasing the number…»

«Apple está publicando cada día…» — « Apple is publishing every day…»

«…la nueva vicepresidenta sigue representando…» — «… the new vice president continues to represent…»

«…se continúa investigando lo sucedido…» — «… investigation continues…»

LLEVAR + GERUNDIO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE ACTIVE

 

 

 

 

 

«… Trump incitara o jaleara a sus … como las que inmediatemente llevaron a cabo asaltando el Capitolio» — «… Trump will incite or rattle his … like the ones they immediately carried out storming the Capitol»

«que se lleva años alertando del deterioro»
«
that has been warning of deterioration for years»

«…que llevaba un año cocinándose   entre…» — «… that had been cooking for a year between…»

 

In addition, there is a diverse of the other cases of the Spanish gerund that were identified in the process of the analysis, by the way, the construction ir  + gerund is also pretty common in the Spanish newspapers:

E.g. «ido aumentando  …» — «…increasing…»

E.g. «…aprovechando su condición de consejero…» — «… taking advantage of your status as a counselor…»

E.g.  «consolidándose irremediablemente…» — «…consolidating irremediably…»

E.g. «…recordando que el Gobierno de Obamahackeó …» — «… recalling that the Obama Government…»

E.g. «…participando en un acto de su fundación…» — «… participating in a foundation event…»

E.g. «…funcionando como una verdadera organización…» — «…operating as a true organization…»

E.g. «…un escrito solicitando …» — «…a letter requesting…»

E.g. «…ido todos corriendo de la casa…» — «… gone all running from the house…»

E.g. «…85 años …iba caminando por la calle…» — «…85 years… I was walking down the street…»

E.g. «asegurando que pondrá todas…» — «…ensuring that you will…»

E.g. «… irme habiendo terminado la pandemia…» — «… leaving having finished the pandemic…»

 

2.3 The Comparative Analysis of the Gerund in the English and Spanish Languages

 

Today may be noticed a growing attention among linguists to the non-finite forms of the verb in many languages but generally in English and Spanish due to the fact that the verb in the grammatical system of both languages leaves much fields for research. There is no doubt that it has an exceptional position by reason of its extensive system and the important role which the verb plays in the sentence construction of languages. In general, the non-finite forms of the verb, as a rule, are not used in the role of a predicate in the sentence, but they can form a part of it. In comparison to the finite forms of the verb, they are not able to express person, number or mood.

Well, according to the results of the research, the English and Spanish languages shares the same system of the non-finite forms of the verb and is signified by three categorical forms — the infinitive, the gerund and the participle. Based on the information that has been mentioned above, it becomes absolutely clear that the gerund plays an important role in the English and Spanish languages as today it would be hard to imagine the grammar without it. Having analyzed the definition of the gerund in the both languages, its forms and functions, in addition proving its importance and relevance basing on the famous newspaper articles the comparative analysis can be conducted.

On the one hand, it may be assumed that the gerund in the English and Spanish languages may share some similarities as they have identical names (the gerund / gerundio), however they do not function in the sentence the same way as Spanish gerund is regarded as the verbal form that never behaves like a noun in the sentence structure in comparison with the English gerund where it functions generally like a noun and has all its properties. As a rule, it should be stressed again that the English gerund is a noun that has the following structure: a verb + ending –ing while just ending in -ing does not make it a gerund, it can also be the present participle. In the Spanish language the gerund has the ending –ndo and is used mainly to talk about actions in progress, without indication of time, number or person, and whose behavior can be identical to that of adverbs in its grammatical functioning.

The system of the non-finite forms of the verb is one of the central elements of the grammatical structure of the Spanish language. This is a constant source for adding new analytical forms to the Spanish verbal system that are formed with the participle, the gerund and the infinitive. All syntactic functions as the main and secondary parts of the sentence covered by the non-finite forms of the verb; they are based on the conflicting interaction of verbal and nominal properties, thus the correlation between them is evident.

After the detailed consideration of the usage of the gerund in the English and Spanish newspapers, it became obvious that the English gerund has more functions in the sentence in contrast to the Spanish gerund which is limited by the verbal constructions. It was identified that in the English newspapers the gerund primarily functions like the subject, the object, the attribute, the adverbial modifier and the predicate; mainly it is used after prepositions and mixed expressions. One other meaningful distinction that draws particular attention is that the Spanish gerund in contrast to the English one cannot be the predicate in the sentence as it has verbal properties. The gerund in the English language in its turn is more flexible as it can be used like nouns in the different situations. In general, the English gerund performs the function of the subject in the English newspapers; the majority of the examples of its functioning have been identified in the headlines:

E.g. «Talking can spread covid — 19 as much as coughing»

E.g.  «Fostering Independence»

E.g. «Recovering from …»

E.g. «Creating a …»

E.g. «Launching Our …»

E.g. «Reviewing 2017 …»

E.g. «Solving the Problem …»

E.g. «Changing the …»

E.g. «Cooking Like …»

However, in the English newspapers was also identified a variety of other cases where the gerund functions like the object and the attribute:

E.g. «Biden’s overflowing empathy…»

E.g. «… in «identifying and preventing the ongoing…»

E.g. «…he focus on helping businesses…»

E.g. «…UK on brink of securing…»

E.g. «… need masks, you need distancing …»

E.g. «…chance of becoming infected…»

E.g. «A petition demanding the …»

E.g. «Stars including One ……»

E.g. «… in upcoming budget…»

In general, in the Spanish language the gerund is mainly used when referring to actions in progress that have the name in English like progressive tenses. In order to convey its meaning in the printed media, the construction estar + gerundio is used or it can be replaced by other ones like continuar, or ir:

E.g. «… que estaba ayudando en la reparación» — «… who was helping in the repair »

E.g. «… literalmente estaban esperando que Trump»»… they were literally waiting for Trump»

E.g. «llevaron a cabo asaltando el Capitolio» — «… carried out storming the Capitol»

E.g. «…planea seguir estudiando» — «…plans to continue studying»

E.g. «… está desarrollando la tecnología…» — «…is developing the technology…»

Well, according to the results of the analysis, the main and probably the most common function of the gerund in the Spanish language is expressed by the construction estar + gerundio that forms the Present Continuous:

E.g. «estado celebrando el cumpleaños …» — «…been celebrating birthday…»

E.g. «…donde se estaba reparando una caldera…» — «… where a boiler was being repaired …»

E.g. «…en la localización de personas están buscando supervivientes…» — «… in locating people are looking for survivors…»

E.g. « un feligrés que estaba ayudando en la reparación» — «a parishioner who was helping in the repair»

E.g. «con perros que están buscando personas entre» — « with dogs that are looking for people between»

The gerund in the Spanish language is always used after the verbs seguir and continuar. As they have the identical meanings. The English equivalent for this phrase is to continue or keep doing something. There are also cases when the Spanish gerund is placed after the verb ir, denoting the action that is increased in the progressive way.

The comparative analysis of the gerund on the material of the English and Spanish famous newspapers has shown that this part of speech plays rather different roles in the language systems. So, in the Spanish language, the gerund is used much more often as the constructions in which this part of speech appears are quite diverse. The main syntactic function of the Spanish is considered the adverbial modifier that plays various roles in the sentence (mode of the action, conditions).

As a result it can be concluded that this part of speech has both common and specific features for each language. So, among the common gerund characteristics in the English and Spanish languages can be noted the following:

  • the usage in combination with a certain group of verbs
  • the ability to express the temporal characteristics of the actions
  • the ability to make gerundial constructions
  • the presence of a complex form
  • the Spanish gerund is distinguished by a greater variety of syntactic functions related to the adverbial modifier (mode of action, causes, time) , while the English gerund is able to perform mainly the function of the subject which are absent among the functions of the Spanish gerund
  • the Spanish gerund has only two forms: one simple and one complex, while English has four forms — one simple and three complex, formed analytically; the auxiliary verb in this case also serves differently. In the English language it is the verb «to be» ( ser in Spanish) while in the Spanish language the verb haber ( to have)

CONCLUSION

The present course paper was dedicated to the study of the usage of the gerund in the English and Spanish languages basing on the materials from the popular British and Spanish newspapers like «The Times», «The Guardian», « El Mundo» and «El País». The choice of them is determined by their relevance all over the world, covering the up-to-date topics. The principal aspects of the forms and functions of the English and Spanish gerund were thoroughly discussed and investigated. At first,

the attention was briefly focused on the verb concept in the grammatical system of the both languages, and then the brief overview of the non-finite forms of the verb was analyzed. In the first chapter the definition of the gerund was studied as well as its forms and functions in the both languages, the second chapter provides with the examples of its usage in the British and Spanish newspapers, arguing that the gerunds occupy the exceptional place in the grammatical system of the both languages. A variety of references were used in order to study the gerund and its main characteristics in the English and Spanish languages. As a result, the conclusions may be drawn.

Well, based on the theoretical data of the leading researchers in the fields of the English and Spanish grammar, it became known that the gerund in the English language is formed from verbs with the ending –ing while the Spanish gerund has the ending –ndo. After considering the gerund in the English and Spanish languages, it becomes clear that despite its identical names in grammar of both languages, their functions may significantly differ from each other. The gerund in the English language functions mostly like a noun thus it is hard to deny that it generally has the noun properties while the gerund in the second language is regarded as the verbal form that never behaves like a noun in the sentence structure.

Graph.1 The usage of the English gerund in English newspapers

 

According to the results of the analysis, the English gerund actually may function in the sentences by different ways: as the subject, the predicate, the object, the attribute and the adverbial modifier. The results of the research prove that the most common function of the gerund in the English language is the subject 28% while the predicate stands at 10%; it was found out that the other gerund functions are also frequently used in the British press like the object 18%, attribute 27%, adverbial modifier 17%.

It can be also concluded that the Spanish gerund has some similarities in its structure with the English present participle. By the way, concerning the English language it is important not to confuse the gerund with the present participle as they have identical forms but functions absolutely different: the gerund in English functions as a noun while the present participle functions as an adjective and forms the continuous tenses. The English gerunds are generally formed from all the existing language verbs, however modals constitute an exception. The gerunds in both languages also have two identical forms but its functioning in the sentences has considerable differences.

The following graphical representation 2, as well as in English, is also made to show the statistics of the use of the gerund in Spanish.

Graph. 2. The usage of the English gerund in Spanish newspapers

 

The Spanish gerund of the present tense is mostly used in newspapers to indicate a continuous action, in this case, it is talked about the construction estar + gerund (60%), which approximately equivalent to the English Present Continuous, Past Continuous and Present Perfect Continuous, depending on the form. In the Spanish language, in order to use this construction in different tenses it is needed to conjugate the verb estar, but the gerund never changes. The gerund in the Spanish language is always an adverbial modifier.

To describe the action preceding the predicate, the complex form of the gerund is usually used that is formed by using the gerund of the auxiliary verb haber and the participle of the main verb, during our analysis above mentioned constructions were not identified in the Spanish press. It can be also useful for denoting how the actions are executed by the subject. By the way, the equivalent structure in the English language is by (doing). The next popular construction that is frequently used in the Spanish newspapers is seguir + gerundio (32%). It was identified that the third gerund construction llevar + gerundio (7 %) was limited to the narrow set of the examples.

Following the analysis dedicated to the basic syntactic functions of the gerund in the English and Spanish newspapers, it became absolutely clear that the gerund in the English newspapers is more flexible as it performs a variety of functions like the subject, the object, the attribute and the adverbial modifier thereby enriching the content of the articles.  The English gerund has more functions in the sentence in contrast to the Spanish gerund which is limited by the verbal constructions like estar + gerundio or seguir + gerundio.

We tried to discuss all unclear moments in detail to create a deeper understanding of the gerund in the both languages and it is hoped that this research will help in addressing the acute current problems of it at the present stage of development of the English and Spanish language.

 

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