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It’s common and correct to use both after two weeks of rain and after two weeks of fighting. But since fight is also a noun, couldn’t it be used instead of fighting?

Also, why rain and not raining? Is there a rule of thumb to apply those or is it something you just have to “go with common sense” with?

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"It is April as I write. The wind / Is blowing after days of constant rain." — Wallace Stevens, "The Connoisseur of Chaos" – Robusto Jan 8 '13 at 1:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you say "quantity of x" without article in front of x, whatever x is, it must be an uncountable noun. The word fight can be used uncountably; it means "the propensity or willingness to fight". You can say, "That girl has a lot of fight in her", but "Two weeks of fight" makes no sense.

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Fighting and rain are both nouns, so basically you use whichever noun you have had two weeks of, no matter what it ends in.


  • After two weeks of rain

    — The rain went on for two weeks

  • After two weeks of fighting

    — The fighting went on for two weeks

With the second example it's therefore wrong to say "after two weeks of fight" because you are trying to say that there was continuous, generalised fighting over a sustained period.

"The fight went on for two weeks" means one particular fight lasted for two weeks. You would then have to rephrase this as "after two weeks of the fight".

A noun with the -ing ending formed from a verb is called a gerund, and there are many examples — see ending in this very sentence. Some of them are so common that we don't notice them, like ending, but others stand out as more unusual.

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So are raining and fight nouns. The point is that rain and fighting are mass nouns, whereas fight is not (at least not in that sense, as Malvolio points out) – Colin Fine Jan 8 '13 at 11:52

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