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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.100 pp.233-250

Syntactic Approach to English Gerunds

Soo-Min Hong**
** Professor, University of Seoul


This paper is an attempt to provide a syntactic account of the English gerund in the framework of Distributed Morphology (DM) where a word is formed in the syntax (Marantz 1997, Harley and Noyer 1999, Alexiadou 2001). English gerunds are well known for the fact that they do not seem to fit well with the basic distinction of categories: Noun, Verb, Adjective and Preposition. They are said to be nominal and verbal at the same time. English gerunds are divided into the three kinds: Clausal Gerunds (CGs), Verbal Gerunds (VGs) and Nominal Gerunds (NGs). Differences between VGs and NGs are presented in comparison with each other with respect to the degree of their verbal properties. The more verbal properties of VGs is evidenced by their distinct characteristics such as a selection of an accusative complement, adverbial modification, compatibility with auxiliary verbs, and availability of Neg not like any other verb. The least verbal properties of NGs indicate that they take PP complements rather than accusative complements and allow adjectival modification and the co-occurrence with determiners just like any other NP/DP. The more verbalhood of VGs may be ascribed to the presence of the functional heads like voice and v while the less verbalhood of NGs to the absence of the same verbal functional heads.