"During the next semester we will study authors." Is this quote a prepositional or a gerund phrase?

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Let us just briefly remind ourselves of what a gerund phrase is. A gerund phrase is a phrase that will begin with a gerund, or an -ing word (which is a verb), and will also include modifiers and/or objects. What is important to note about Gerund phrases is that they...

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Let us just briefly remind ourselves of what a gerund phrase is. A gerund phrase is a phrase that will begin with a gerund, or an -ing word (which is a verb), and will also include modifiers and/or objects. What is important to note about Gerund phrases is that they always count as nouns. Don't mistake a present participle for a gerund phrase, which will function as a verb.

If we have a look at the example you have given, "during" is definitely not a gerund. Although it is a -ing word, it is not a gerund, and is actually a preposition as it refers to time. Therefore we can see that the phrase you have quoted is a prepositional phrase rather than a gerund phrase.

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