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  1. #1
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    Default precarious sleeping

    Precarious sleeping, those Elizabethan nights were, when beds were kept from sagging with a rope strung around the mattress. This, our guide tells us, was the origin of, "Good night, sleep tight."

    What does the first sentence mean?
    Is the "sleeping" here a noun or adjective?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: precarious sleeping

    verb.... carefully sleeping... sleeping dangerously....

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: precarious sleeping

    I'd say a gerund.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: precarious sleeping

    now i understand the sentence better.
    but i have another question, why is it "precarious" rather than "precariously" here?

    thanks

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: precarious sleeping

    In my interpretation, a gerund would be modified by an adjective not an adverb. The nights weren't sleeping- people did that. However, the act of sleeping was precarious because it was dangerous.

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