"When -ing forms are used as verbs, adjectives or adverbs, they are often called 'present participles.' (This is not a very suitable name, because these forms can refer to the past, present, or future.) When they are used more like nouns, they are often called 'gerunds.' In fact, the distinction is not really as simple as this, and some grammarians prefer to avoid the terms 'participle' and 'gerund.'" (Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, 2nd ed. Oxford Univ. Press, 1995)

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