One of my higher level students gave me a really tough question last year.
Some English learners may notice that English has both gerunds (verbs with the “-ing” suffix) and action nouns. Sometimes, one word can take on both forms! Here are some examples:
There are many, many more!
Both of them function as nouns, but both describe actions or things happening. So what’s the difference.
It’s actually very simple!
- Gerunds are not countable, so they refer to the action in general!
- Action nouns are (usually) countable, so they refer to a specific action or event.
Here are some examples:
“We are waiting for his arriving.” X
“We are waiting for his arrival.” O
“There was attacking on Gaza recently.” X
“There was an attack on Gaza recently.” O
“Editing newspapers is hard work.” O
“The edit of a newspaper is hard work.” X
“Evaluating students’ work is important.” O
“The evaluation of students’ work is important.” X
That’s it! Hope that helps, and hit me up if you have any questions!