verbal noun

verbal noun
verbal noun
1. A verbal noun (also called a gerund) is a form of a verb ending in -ing that acts as a noun, for example smoking in the phrase no smoking and in the sentence Smoking damages your health. It should be distinguished from (identically formed) participial adjectives (a smoking chimney) and participles used to form continuous tenses (The chimney is smoking).
2. Because a verbal noun is a part of a verb as well as being a noun, it can retain some of the characteristics of verbs in its grammatical behaviour; for example the forms They do not like us smoking in the house (non-possessive) and They do not like our smoking in the house (possessive) are both established in ordinary usage, although the second, in which smoking is treated as a full noun, is often preferred in more formal writing. Fowler (1906, 1926) rejected the first type as ‘grammatically indefensible’, since the words defy grammatical analysis (an example he gave was We need fear nothing from China [change to China's] developing her resources), but the basis of his argument lay in Latin rather than English grammar and has rightly been questioned since (notably by the Danish linguist Otto Jespersen, 1860–1943). In current use, certain patterns are discernible:
a) The possessive is the more normal choice when the word preceding the -īng form is a personal name or a noun denoting a person, but less so when the name is of an organization:

One cannot say that Kafka's marvelling at mundane accomplishments was not genuineLondon Review of Books, 1987


I was now counting on my father's being able to make some provision somehow —Ved Mehta, 1987


There is no question of Gazprom cutting off supplies in RussiaIndependent, 2007

b) When the noun is non-personal, is part of a phrase, or is in the plural, the possessive is not normally used:

They turned a blind eye to toffee apples going missing —Jeanette Winterson, 1985


Then we had our old conversation about the house being haunted —C. Rumens, 1987


I'm not averse to others making good money or big profitsWestern Morning News, 2007

c) With personal pronouns, usage varies between the possessive and non-possessive, the possessive being more usual at the start of a sentence:

Fancy his minding that you went to the Summer Exhibition —A. N. Wilson, 1978


His being so capable was the only pleasant thing about the whole dreadful day —E. Jolley, AusE 1985


There can be no question of you disturbing the clerks —Peter Carey, AusE 1988


Their Aunt Martha had been remarkably circumspect on the subject of their leaving her house so soon after arriving —fiction website, AmE 2005

d) With indefinite pronouns the non-possessive form is more usual, the possessive sounding less natural:

He didn't think for a time of anyone clawing at his back —D. A. Richards, CanE 1981


There are many sound reasons, then, for everyone's wanting to join in this new Gold RushEncounter, 1988


There is nothing wrong with everyone knowing your public key, but they should verify that it is yoursLinux Journal, 2005

e) In sum, the possessive is on the retreat, but its use with proper names and personal pronouns and pronouns persists.
3. The to-infinitive also acts as a verbal noun (To err is human, to forgive divine), and choice between this and an -ing form is largely a matter of idiom. For example, one hopes to do something but one thinks of doing something, has a fondness for doing something, and has an aversion to doing something. Care needs to be taken not to confuse these patterns, especially when more than one is used in the same sentence.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • verbal noun — noun (C) a noun that describes an action or experience and has the form of a present participle . For example building is a verbal noun in The building of the bridge was slow work , but simply a noun in The bank was a tall building ; gerund see… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • verbal noun — noun count LINGUISTICS a noun that is formed from a verb and ends in ing, for example swimming in the sentence Swimming is my favorite sport : GERUND …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • verbal noun — ► NOUN Grammar ▪ a noun formed as an inflection of a verb and partly sharing its constructions, such as smoking in smoking is forbidden …   English terms dictionary

  • verbal noun — n. Gram. a noun or nominal derived from a verb and functioning in some respects like a verb: in English, it is either a noun ending in ING (a gerund) or an infinitive (Ex.: walking is healthful, to err is human) …   English World dictionary

  • Verbal noun — A verbal noun is a noun formed directly as an inflexion of a verb or a verb stem, sharing at least in part its constructions. This term is applied especially to gerunds, and sometimes also to infinitives and supines.Examples of the verbal noun in …   Wikipedia

  • verbal noun — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms verbal noun : singular verbal noun plural verbal nouns linguistics a noun that is formed from a verb and ends in ing , for example swimming in the sentence Swimming is my favourite sport …   English dictionary

  • verbal noun — noun A noun that is morphologically related to a verb and similar to it in meaning; in English, this might be a gerund (ending in ing), infinitive, or other noun derived from a verb. Brisk walking is good exercise. Syn: verbal substantive …   Wiktionary

  • verbal noun — noun a noun that is derived from a verb • Syn: ↑deverbal noun • Hypernyms: ↑common noun • Hyponyms: ↑gerund …   Useful english dictionary

  • verbal noun — noun Date: 1652 a noun derived directly from a verb or verb stem and in some uses having the sense and constructions of a verb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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