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I am confused with whether it is necessary to use the before verbs in certain contexts. Like:

  1. The milking of a cow is not a painful process at all like you think.

  2. I am afraid it has never been explained how the whole dream-sharing thing works in Inception.

So in both cases above, can we exclude the the before those verb+ing constructs?

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I think the question needs a better title. I request anybody to feel free to do that. – Mistu4u Jan 5 '13 at 12:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The milking of a cow is not a painful process at all like you think is verbose and ungrammatical. Process is almost always an expendable word. It would be better expressed as:

Milking a cow is not as painful as you think.

I am afraid it has never been explained how does the whole dream sharing works in "Inception" is also verbose, ungrammatical, and a bit awkward. "I am afraid" is an empty expression unless you're contradicting someone's claim that dream sharing was explained. It would be better expressed as:

How dream sharing works is never explained in (the movie) Inception.

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What about using "the" before the verbs? I think that is my main question. I request you to elaborate on it briefly! Otherwise your answer on their usage is awesome! – Mistu4u Jan 5 '13 at 13:04
Milking and sharing are nouns (gerunds), not verbs. Verbs don't take the definite article, but nouns do. – user21497 Jan 5 '13 at 13:05
+1 for all you had to go through for so little reward. – Robusto Jan 5 '13 at 13:49
@Robusto: Thank you. I do this not for rewards from others but for the pleasure it gives me to express my opinions, however outrageous they may be one some occasions. <:-O – user21497 Jan 5 '13 at 14:15
@Kris: Maybe so. But ambiguity has its virtues. If only to illustrate its perils. – user21497 Jan 9 '13 at 5:03

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