So I am sure the title of this question makes little sense, but I don't know how to ask it (feel free to edit it to make it more direct, but not so direct that it answers the question).

There is a certain sentence format that's used mainly in movie titles that's not really a complete sentence, but more along the lines of a clause of sorts. You've seen movie titles like:

Being John Malkovich
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Driving Miss Daisy
Gleaming the Cube (good one, right?)

It seems to me that this fragment of a sentence has a name or is at least identifiable in some way.

Edit: The only tag I can think of is grammar, so feel free to add additional tags.


1 Answer 1


When an -ing verb acts as a noun, it is traditionally called a gerund. It’s still a non-finite verb, and so can take complements:

Hitting kids on the playground will get you kicked out of school.

Being yourself is the most important thing you can do.

That’s not for shooting squirrels with, sonny.

  • 3
    Right. These are Gerund phrases, which are Verb phrases with the verb in the -ing form. They have a subject, but it's not stated here, and who the subject is is a legitimate concern with titles like this. Who is the person who's sposta be John Malkovich, forget Sarah Marshall, or drive Miss Daisy? The fourth one is ungrammatical, however, since gleam isn't causative and can't take an object. Sep 21, 2013 at 0:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.