Is it considered grammatical to refer to a gerund in the subject position with the pronoun "it"?

Visiting a dentist regularly is recommended as it can contribute to overall health.

  • 1
    Fishing is permitted here, isn't it?
    – GEdgar
    Oct 14, 2011 at 20:25
  • @GEdgar It is clear that that is not the it that you think it is.
    – tchrist
    Feb 1, 2012 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


Sure. Using the pronoun it there is perfectly grammatical.


Gerunds are words derived from verbs that are used as nouns; they can be used as subject of a sentence, and (as with every noun) you can replace them with pronouns.

  • 1
    Gerunds aren't used as nouns though. Gerunds can take subjects and objects. In this example, the gerund visiting has the object the dentist. If I replace the gerund with a noun, the result is ungrammatical: Visitation a dentist regularly is recommended.
    – morphail
    Oct 15, 2011 at 14:27
  • @morphail Actually, I would not use visitation because it means " an official or formal visit." The fact gerunds function as nouns doesn't mean you can always replace them with another noun.
    – apaderno
    Oct 15, 2011 at 16:30
  • @kiamlaluno My point is that a nouns and gerunds occupy certain syntactic slots. You can't put a noun in the slot that a gerund occupies. If gerunds were nouns, then I should be able to replace them with other nouns. For instance, dentist is a noun, and I can replace it with another noun: Visiting a house regularly is recommended. The sentence might not make sense, but it is grammatical because the noun is in the right place. But if I replace visiting with a noun, then the result is ungrammatical: Visitation a dentist regularly is recommended. A gerund is not a noun.
    – morphail
    Oct 15, 2011 at 17:07
  • @morphail I didn't write that a gerund is a noun; I wrote that gerunds function as nouns (or they are used as nouns). The fact you cannot always replace a gerund with a noun is not different from the fact you cannot always replace a noun with another noun. Take as example "the lions roar"; lions is a noun, but you cannot replace it with lambs, and obtain "the lambs roar."
    – apaderno
    Oct 15, 2011 at 17:12
  • @kiamlaluno Yes you can. The lambs roar is a grammatical sentence. We have a noun, lambs, preceding the verb roar and following the determiner the. But replacing a gerund with a noun often results in an ungrammatical sentence, as in my example. In my example, we have the noun phrase a dentist immediately following the noun visitation. This is not grammatical; we can't stick 2 noun phrases together like this. As far as I can see, there's no difference between saying something functions as a noun or is used as a noun, and saying it is a noun.
    – morphail
    Oct 15, 2011 at 17:22

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