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    #1

    Use of "of"

    Hello!
    It's me asking for your help again. I'd like to get a certain and comprehensive answer to the question:
    Where is it necessary (or preferable) to use of after gerunds? For example, I happened to come across inserting information into..., as well as inserting of date values.
    I understand that the complete answer may take too much place, but at least I want to have an insight into the issue to be confident about my grammar when necessary. If someone can come up with a grammar reference on it, I would also appreciate it.
    Thanks in advance,
    Max.

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    #2

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackMax View Post
    Hello!
    It's me asking for your help again. I'd like to get a certain and comprehensive answer to the question:
    Where is it necessary (or preferable) to use of after gerunds? For example, I happened to come across inserting information into..., as well as inserting of date values.
    I understand that the complete answer may take too much place, but at least I want to have an insight into the issue to be confident about my grammar when necessary. If someone can come up with a grammar reference on it, I would also appreciate it.
    Thanks in advance,
    Max.
    A gerund requires a direct object: inserting something. With 'of' you need a noun: the insertion of smth.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    A gerund requires a direct object: inserting something. With 'of' you need a noun: the insertion of smth.
    Yes, but gerunds (verbal nouns as I have seen them described) can be used in a more noun-like way. Both of the following sentences are acceptable:

    Wearing trainers to school is not permitted.
    The wearing of trainers to school is not permitted.

    I'll see if I can track down the words of some authority for you.

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    #4

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Yes, but gerunds (verbal nouns as I have seen them described) can be used in a more noun-like way. Both of the following sentences are acceptable:

    Wearing trainers to school is not permitted.
    The wearing of trainers to school is not permitted.

    I'll see if I can track down the words of some authority for you.
    Thank you both for the explanations. I see you use the in the form with of - is it always required for these constructions (ger. + of)?

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    #5

    Re: Use of "of"

    Well, that wasn't hard:

    "When you are not using a determiner in front of an 'ing' form, the '-ing' form can have a direct object. When you are using a determiner, you use 'of' to introduce the object.

    I somehow didn't get round to taking the examination.
    ...charges relating to the illegal taking of wild birds' eggs.


    Sinclair, John, [editor in chief], (1992) Collins Cobuild English Usage, London: HarperCollins.

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    #6

    Re: Use of "of"

    OK, that's clear. What about the difference in meaning? Of course, it's slight, but maybe sometimes it can influence the sense to some extent?

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    #7

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Yes, but gerunds (verbal nouns as I have seen them described) can be used in a more noun-like way. Both of the following sentences are acceptable:

    Wearing trainers to school is not permitted.
    The wearing of trainers to school is not permitted.

    I'll see if I can track down the words of some authority for you.
    Mixing up gerunds and verbal nouns is a very common mistake. Gerunds do have noun features but they are limited to syntactical functions (subject, object) and combinability (can combine with prepositions like "before leaving", adjective pronouns "my interrupting you, no avoiding it"). Verbal nouns have morphological markers of grammatical categories, such as number ("his comings and goings") and determination (articles, for example "the wearing of trousers").

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    #8

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    Mixing up gerunds and verbal nouns is a very common mistake. Gerunds do have noun features but they are limited to syntactical functions (subject, object) and combinability (can combine with prepositions like "before leaving", adjective pronouns "my interrupting you, no avoiding it"). Verbal nouns have morphological markers of grammatical categories, such as number ("his comings and goings") and determination (articles, for example "the wearing of trousers").
    Well, a lot of people make this mistake - including John Sinclair, at the time Professor of Modern English Language at the University of Birmingham:

    '-ing forms' .... used like nouns: You can use -ing forms like nouns. When used like this, they are sometimes called gerunds or verbal nouns. I think it could be that Pokemon is making a distinction between two ways in which gerunds (aka verbal nouns) are used.

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    #9

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Well, a lot of people make this mistake - including John Sinclair, at the time Professor of Modern English Language at the University of Birmingham:

    '-ing forms' .... used like nouns: You can use -ing forms like nouns. When used like this, they are sometimes called gerunds or verbal nouns. I think it could be that Pokemon is making a distinction between two ways in which gerunds (aka verbal nouns) are used.
    Give my best regards to Prof. Sinclair. First of all, not all -ing-forms can be used as nouns. Present participles cannot. Secondly, it does make sense to make this distinction, at least, to explain why we can sometimes use of-phrases after certain -ing-forms.Sincerely,Professor Pokemon

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    #10

    Re: Use of "of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon;672224 First of all, not all -ing-forms can be used as nouns. Present participles cannot. [COLOR=Blue
    Indeed.
    [/COLOR]
    Confusion on this matter is common. Compare these two definitions from The Oxford Companion to the English Language (1992):

    1. GERUND. […] A traditional name for a verbal noun, in English a word ending in –ing

    2. VERBAL NOUN. A category of non-countable abstract noun derived from a verb, in English by adding the suffix –ing. … [verbal nouns] … contrast with the gerund, which also ends in –ing

    #1 was written by Sidney Greenbaum, Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College, London, Director of the Survey of English Usage, and co-author of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman 1985). He also wrote Oxford English Grammar (Oxford, 1996).

    #2 was written by … errrm… Sidney Green.


    Dear Sidney does give examples which support Pokemon's points. As Pokemon says, "it does make sense to make this distinction, at least, to explain why we can sometimes use of-phrases after certain -ing-forms". It is just a great pity that some people (Sinclair and I) use the two labels interchangeably, some (Pokemon and Sidney Mark 2) give different names for different usages, and some (Sidney Mark 1/2) just seem confused.
    Last edited by 5jj; 01-Nov-2010 at 23:28. Reason: typo

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