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Theing-form as Predicative

§ 210.The ing-form as predicative is usually used after the
link-verbs to be, to mean and to look and has appositive meaning.

e.g. The important part is helpingpeople so that they can live

normal lives.

I can't ask him for help. That would mean tellinghim every-
thing about you and myself.

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the ing-form see "Verbs", § 166.

The ing-form as predicative is often preceded by like. It also
has appositive meaning here, but the explanation is made by way
of comparison.

e.g. To read his novels was like swimmingin a lake so clear that
you could see the bottom.

At the time their quarrel looked like goingon for ever.
Andrew looked like a small boy being teased.

Instances of the ing-form as predicative are scarce.
Note. The ing-form as predicative is sometimes adjectivized.

e.g. That must be enormously exciting.

The journey was slow, rough and tiring and took us eleven days.

Hugh's tone got more and more insulting.

If the ing-form, were not adjectivized it would be taken for a continuous form.
e.g. The quarrel ought to be stopped. They are insulting each other.

(For comparison with the infinitive see §§ 182 and 236.)

Theing-form as Predicate
§ 211.The ing-iorm, as predicate is restricted to two sentence


1) interrogative sentences beginning with what about and how

about and implying suggestion,

e.g. What about going to London?

How about seeing what they are doing now?

2) exclamatory sentences expressing indignation,
e.g. But lettinghim do it!

Sentences of both kinds are quite common in spoken English.
(For comparison with the infinitive see § 183.)

The ing-form as Part of a Compound Verbal Predicate
§ 212.The ing form is lexically dependent in this function —
it is used after a number of verbs denoting motion or position.
They are: to come, to disappear, to go, to go out (round, around,
about), to lie, to sit, to sit around (round), to stand, to stand
around (round).

e.g. They came rushingin, laughing.

They had often gone fishingin those days.
Are we going out dancingtonight?

He went about sniffing the air but there was no trace of gas.

They all sat around feeling very proud.

"I'm ready," he said to Maurice and stood waiting.

Next morning I woke early and lay listeningto the clatter of

dishes in the kitchen.
He disappeared walking,there was no noise, nothing.

The two verbs of the combination form a close sense-unit. The
first component has a weakened meaning and mainly serves as a fi-
nite verb, while the meaning of the ing-form is quite prominent
and determines the meaning of the whole combination.

e.g. In that mood I entered the bedroom, where Sheila was lying

reading, her book near the bedside lamp.

Sometimes she fell into despondency and sat doingnothing at
all, neither reading nor sewing for half an hour at a time.

Note. Note the following set phrases:

e.g. I burst out laughing, and the others followed.
All at once she burst out crying.

(For comparison with the infinitive see § 184.)

The ing-form as a Second Action Accompanying

the astion of the predicate verb. the Action of the Predicate Verb

§ 213. The ing-form may express a second action accom-
anying the action expressed by the predicate verb. The subject of
the ing-form is the same as the subject of the sentence.
The ing-form in this function refers not to the predicate verb
alone but to the whole predicate group. It does not form any close
sense-unit with the predicate verb and can be found with verbal
as well as with nominal predicates.
The ing-form is not lexically dependent in this function.

e.g. They ran up the stairs brimming with excitement.

ou can't just sit there being talkedabout.
I felt uneasy beingalone with him in that large house.
Martha was upstairs getting ready.
When I looked up he was still there waiting for me.
She was sitting in the doorway of the tent reading.

As a rule, the ing-form follows the predicate group (see the
examples above). But it may also be placed at the head of the sen-
tence or between the subject and the predicate,
e.g. Cominginto my office one evening in the autumn, he said

shyly: "Doing anything tonight?"
Watchingthem with bold, excited eyes, Simon discussed their


I made to go out, but Roger, frowning,shook his head.
In the taxi going home, Margaret, holdingmy hand against

her cheek, said: "You made a mistake, you know."

Note 1. When the ing-form is used to denote a second action, it is often sepa-
rated by a comma from the rest of the sentence.

Note 2. The ing-forms of certain verbs have come to be used as prepositions or
conjunctions. Care should be taken to distinguish them from the real ing forms.

e.g. Several officials, includingme, had been invited.

He says he willbe at the meeting place for three nights running next week

beginningon Monday.
Well, considering that Hector's a politician, you can't say that he's altogether

a fool.

Presuming the old man gets better and comes back to the job, then what?

Supposing you sold the land, what could you get for it?

"That will be all right, barringaccidents" I told him at once.

Note 3. Note that taking all things into consideration (account) has become a
set phrase,
e.g. Taking all things into consideration,I decided to tear my letter up.

In the vast majority of sentences we find a simple ing-iorm
which expresses an action simultaneous with that of the predicate
verb (see the examples above). Yet if both the predicate verb and
the ing-form are expressed by terminative verbs, the action of the
ing-form precedes that of the predicate verb. The ing-form in this
case is placed before the predicate,
e.g. Turningto his hostess, he remarked: "It's been a nice day."

(=He first turned to his hostess and then remarked.)
Recovering from his excitement, he became practical again.
Smith, turningto him, gave a serious contented smile.
The use of the perfect ing-form,though quite possible, is not
of frequent occurrence. It shows that the action of the ing-form


precedes that of the predicate verb. The Perfect ing-form is often
placed before the predicate verb.
e.g. Havingduly arrivedin Scotland, he took a train the next day
to Manchester.

Having cuther dirty bandage, John started tying her hand.

Havinggradually wastedhis small fortune, he preferred to
live on the generosity of others rather than work.
Francis was there before me, havingcome by the morning

Norman, having lookedat his watch, slapped the play-script
shut and put it on his chair.

As has been said, the subject of the ing form is usually the
person or thing denoted by the subject of the sentence (see the ex-
amples above). Occasionally, however, we come across instances of
the ing form whose subject is expressed elsewhere, for instance,
by one of the secondary parts of the sentence.

e.g. Walkingbeside his friend, it seemed to Normanthat life was
not so bad after all.

But back in his office, lookingdown at his desk, hissense of
well-being left him.

I love you like hell, Bridget. And, lovingyou like hell, you
can't expect meto enjoy seeing you get married to a pot-
bellied, pompous little peer who loses his temper when he
doesn't win at tennis.

But searchingfor i's not dotted, t's uncrossed in his letter,
it came to himthat all he had written were lies, big lies
poured over the paper like a thick syrup.

The above use of the ing-form is not common. Since usually
the subject of the ing-form is the same person or thing as the sub-
ject of the sentence, it is not easy to identify the subject of the
ing-form in sentences of the above kind. Hence, the term dangling
or unattached
is applied to this ing-form in grammar.

The ing-form denoting a second action in the kind of sentences
illustrated above is typical of literary style where its use is quite
extensive, but it is hardly ever used in spoken English.

However, the ing-form denoting a second action is quite com-
mon in spoken English after certain predicate groups. Here belong

the verbs to spend and to waste when they are followed by the
noun time or some other expressions of time, and also after to
have a good (hard, jolly, etc.,) time, to have difficulty, to have
and some others,
e.g. She did little typing herself, but spent her time correcting the

work of the four girls she employed.
Are you going to spend your life saying "ought", like the

rest of our moralists?
She told me that she would often spend a whole morning

working upon a single page.
Well, I'm sure I don't know why I waste time cooking a big

meal for this family if no one wants to eat it.
He had a good time dancing at the club.
They had difficulty finding his address.

In spoken English there is another sentence pattern in which
the ing-form denoting a second action is also quite common. The
sentence pattern includes the verb to be followed by an indication
of place: to be here (there), to be in, to be in the room (kitchen,
garden, office,
etc.,), to be out, to be upstairs (downstairs) and the

e.g. Mother is out shopping.

Pat is downstairs talking to Father.
Miss Smith was in her office typing.

(For comparison with the infinitive see § 185.)

The ing-form as Object

§ 214. The ing-form may be used as a direct object of a verb.
It is lexically dependent in this function and found after the fol-
lowing verbs: to admit, to avoid, to begin, to cease, to consider, to
continue, to delay, to deny, to endure, to enjoy, to escape, to fin-
ish, to forget, to give up, to go on, to hate, to intend, to keep, to
keep on, to leave off, to like, to love, to mention, to mind
(in neg-
ative and interrogative sentences), to neglect, to postpone, to pre
fer, to propose
(= to suggest), to put off, to quit, to recall, to rec-
ollect, to regret, to remember, to resent, to resume, to risk, to
start, to stop, to suggest, to try
and some others.

e.g. English grammar is very difficult and few writers have

avoided making mistakes in it.
The rest of us had finished eating, but Cave had cut himself

another slice of cheese.

Roger went on speaking with energy, calculation and warmth.
He kept on smiling at her and speaking.
He drank his beer and resumed reading his paper.
I was in low spirits and even considered going away.
David Rubin did not much like being" called Professor.

In addition to the verbs mentioned in the list above, the ing-
as object is used after certain modal phrases in the negative
form: can't bear, can't face, can't fancy, can't imagine, can't re
sist, can't stand
and can't help.

e.g. They can't bear being humiliated.

He could not face being talked about.

Later in the day she couldn't resist calling Mrs Spark to find

out the details of the tragedy.
He couldn't help asking me: "Isn't there anything else you

can do for Roger?"

Besides, the ing-form is also used after the set phrase to feel

e.g. He felt like giving up the whole affair.

I didn't feel like talking to him after what had happened.

The subject of the ing-form in this function is the same as
that of the predicate verb.

(For comparison with the infinitive see §§ 186 and 237.)

§ 215. The ing-form may also serve as a direct object of an ad-
jective. It is lexically dependent in this case and found only after
two adjectives — busy and worth.

e.g. The foreman was busy shouting orders and instructions.

The children were busy doing all the things they had been

told not to do.

He thought my idea was worth trying.
It was not a witticism worth repeating.

(For comparison with the infinitive see §§ 187 and 238.)

§ 216.As a prepositional object of a verb, the ing-form is also
lexically dependent. It is found after verbs that take a preposition-
al object. These verbs may be divided into three groups:

1) verbs followed by one prepositional object,

2) verbs followed by a non-prepositional object and a preposi-
tional object,

3) verbs followed by two prepositional objects.

I. The verbs of the first group are closely connected with a
preposition whose meaning is often weakened. The following is
the list of the most commonly used verbs: to admit to, to agree to,
to aim at, to apologize for, to approve of, to believe in, to bother
about, to care for, to come of, to come round to, to complain of, to
confess to, to consist of/in, to count on, to despair of, to dream of,
to end in, to forget about, to feel up to, to get to, to get down to,
go back to, to grumble about, to hesitate about, to insist on, to lead
to, to long for, to mean by, to persist in, to plan on, to reckon on,
to refrain from, to return to, to result in/from, to save from, to
succeed in, to take to, to talk of, to tell of, to think of/about, to
threaten with, to worry about
and some others.

e.g. What did she mean by boastinglike that?

I didn't think twice about tellingher: we had no secrets.
It does not seem impossible that the biologist will in the fu-
ture succeed in creatinglife in his laboratory.
The readers of a book insist on knowingthe reasons of action.
Let's get down to signingthe papers.
Towards the end of the summer, they visited me together

several times, and then Norman took to comingalone.
I had never been on an aeroplane and worried aboutbeing

I must apologize for having interrupteda conference.

Here also belong certain set phrases, such as: to find excuses for,
to have no doubt about, to look forward to, to lose time in, to make a
point of, to plead guilty to, to take pride in
and some others.
e.g. I took pride in makingmy lodgings pretty and comfortable.
He was taking risks in speakingin that tone to them.
I expect you are looking forward to seeingyour fiance again-
Special attention should be given to set phrases with the verb
to be which are treated as verb equivalents.

e.g. Would you be up to playingwith us this afternoon?

She was just on the point of goingaway when Betty Vane
came in.

"Would you be in favour of investigatingthe matter?" Mon-
ty asked.

The subject of the action expressed by the ing-form is generally
the person denoted by the subject of the sentence (see the examples
above). But occasionally we find an ing-complex (see "Verbs", §66).

e.g. I don't in the least object to your playingpractical jokes on

other people.
She complained about the porridge beinglumpy.

The use of an ing-complex seems to be generally required by
the verbs to approve of, to disapprove of, to grumble about and
some others. (We usually approve of or grumble about some other
people's actions — hence the agent of the ing-form is expected to
be a person or thing other than the one denoted by the subject of

e.g. He could not approve of Guy's hidinghimself away.
We can't grumble about things beingdull, can we?

II. Verbs requiring a non-prepositional and prepositional object
are in general less numerous. Besides, not all of them take an ing-
form as their prepositional object (e.g. to explain something to
somebody, to dictate something to somebody,

Of the verbs taking a non-prepositional and prepositional object
expressed by an ing form, the most commonly occurring are: to ac-
cuse somebody of, to amuse somebody with, to ask somebody about,
to charge somebody with, to coax somebody into, to give something
to, to give something for, to invite somebody into, to keep some
body from, to mutter something about, to persuade somebody into,
o remind somebody of, to restrict oneself to, to save somebody
from, to say something about, to stop somebody from, to suspect
somebody of, to talk somebody into/out of, to tell something about
d some others.

e.g- I am prepared for anyone to accuse me of beingcowardly.

It had been easy to coax Margaret into invitingthe Morgans
to stay with us for a week.

Did she suspect them of trying to cheat her?

I hope you won't let Peg talk you out of joining me?

It is lack of imagination that prevents people from seeing

things from any point of view but their own.
Will you be able to keep those fellows from making any more


Of all the prepositions there is one that acquires particular
importance in this construction as it may be found with a consid-
erable number of verbs and is, consequently, of frequent occur-
rence. It is the preposition for. It generally serves to indicate the
cause of the action denoted by the predicate verb.

For is found after the following verbs: to blame somebody, to
excuse somebody, to forgive somebody, to hate somebody, to like
somebody, to love somebody, to pay somebody, to reprimand some
body, to reproach somebody, to scold somebody, to thank somebody
and some others.

e.g. I thought you had just been blaming me for being neutral.
I'm not going to reproach you for interrupting the rehearsal.
I was going to thank you for looking after him till I came.
The major reprimanded him for being late.
He scolded me for not having let him know.
The subject of the ing-form in this sentence pattern is the per-
son denoted by the direct object, as in She tried to talk him into
doing it (see also the examples above).

After verbs of speaking we often find an ing-complex.

e.g. I told them about Gustav's wanting to come with me.

I said something about Jane being in love with him, but he

would not talk about her.
I muttered something about its being a pity.

III. The number of verbs requiring two prepositional objects of
which the second is an ing-form is limited. The ing-form is also in-
troduced by the preposition for, as with some verbs above,
e.g. I entered the classroom and apologized to the teacher for be-
ing late.
I should have been vexed with you for thinking me such a


§ 217. The ing-form as a prepositional object is also found af-
ter various kinds of adjectives — adjectives proper, predicative

adjectives and adjectivized participles. The most commonly occur-

ring of them are: absorbed in, (un)accustomed to, afraid of,
amused at, angry with, annoyed at, ashamed of, aware of, (in)capable

of, careful about/in, careless of, certain of, clever at, (un)conscious
of, content with, delighted at, different from, embarrassed at, ex
cited about, far from, fond of, fortunate in, frightened of, furious
at, given to, good (better) at, grateful for, happy in/at, interested
in, irritated at, keen on, miserable at, nice about, pleased at, proud

of, responsible for, right in, scared at/of, set against, set on, sick
of, skilled in/at, slow in, sorry for, successful in/at, sure of, sur-
prised at, thankful for, tired of, touched at, upset at, (un)used to,
worried about, wrong in,

e.g. If only I were capable of doing that!

We were never very careful about taking precautions.

"You look for trouble, don't you?" "Only because I'm pretty

certain of finding it.

" I was fairly content with letting things go as they were.
Somehow I wasn't too interested in trying to get back into

that work.

I was tired of doing much the same thing every day.
"I'm sorry for giving you so much trouble," she said.
I felt that he was excited about showing me his new car.
He was unconscious of Anna standing beside him.

For means of expressing the subject of the action denoted by
the ing-form see "Verbs", § 166.

(For comparison with the infinitive see §§ 187 and 238.)

§ 218. The ing-form may serve as object of a verb in a special
sentence pattern with it as a formal subject. The use of the ing-
form in this sentence pattern is found after a very limited number
of verbs and set phrases (which are verb equivalents) but it is
typical of spoken English.

e.g- He said to his wife: "It doesn't matter much being liked, for

this kind of life."

When it comes down to getting a job with a living wage at-
tached to it, he's prepared to put his theories in his pocket.

She was, as her colleagues said, "good on paper", but when it
came to speaking in committees she was so apprehensive
that she spent sleepless hours the night before.
For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the ing-form see § 166.

(For comparison with the infinitive see §§ 189 and 239.)

§ 219.The ing-form may be used as a direct object of an adjec-
tive in a sentence pattern with if as a formal subject. This kind of
object is also lexically dependent — it regularly occurs after it is

e.g. It is worth rememberingthat he has once been a boxer.
It is worth findingit out.

Sometimes the ing-form is found after a number of other ad-
jectives such as amusing, banal, comfortable, difficult, dreary,
easy, great, hopeless, lovely, nice, odd, pleasant, strange, tough,
useless, wonderful,

e.g. It was difficult getting him to do it.

It won't be easy findingour way back. There's not much moon.
It will be rather nice seeinghim again.
It was useless arguingwith Jane.

But the ing-form occurs after these adjectives only in spoken
English, and such sentences are often emotionally coloured. As a
general rule, we find an infinitive here (see "Verbs", § 190).

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denoted
by the ing-form see § 166.

§ 220.The ing-form is sometimes found in a sentence pattern
with it as a formal object of the verbs to find, to make and to
The formal it in this case is followed by an adjective.

e.g. He found it worth remindingher of her promise.
He thought it very odd my leavingwhen I did.

For the means of expressing the subject of the action denote
by the ing-form see § 166.

(For comparison with the infinitive see § 191.)

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