- A factory famous for the production of. . .
- A factory famous for producing . . .
- A farm dedicated to the cultivation of . . .
- A farm dedicated to cultivating . . .
- The firm focused on the development of new . . .
- The firm focused on developing new . . .

I believe both forms are grammatically correct,
but is one of the two preferred over the other and if so, why?

  • 6
    Formal styles tend to favour nouns over verbs. It's true the gerund producing is quite "nouny" - but not so much as "production", which is therefore more likely to feature in formal texts. Of course, if you want your text to be easier to read, you should ignore all that and favour using more verbs. – FumbleFingers Sep 21 '14 at 22:52
  • 2
    In general, the extra machinery needed for a noun (derived noun form, article, preposition) compared to the gerund (-ing form) is probly not worth the effort. It certainly doesn't add any meaning and it takes some attention to get right, especially for an English learner. As FF suggests, verbs have more fun, and get through easier. – John Lawler Sep 22 '14 at 0:02
  • I prefer verbs in English, stylistically, unless otherwise warranted by a scientific context. English loves verbs. – Lambie May 28 at 16:22

Swooping down on the rep carrion left by inveterate commenters FumbleFingers and John Lawler, I submit the following:

Yes. Both forms are grammatical.

As stated in the comments, nouns (e.g., the production) will carry a style that is more formal. Some will think it sounds fancier, more educated, more elegant, traditional, while others will find it pretentious, pompous, outdated, overwrought, and gratuitously harder to read.

Using the -ing forms (gerunds or verbal nouns, e.g., producing,) will convey a less formal tone, though not particularly informal. Readers often find this choice to be more clear, direct, lively, and simpler to read.

The best choice then, depends on a number of factors in a particular situation. What kind of genre or type of text or discourse, who your target listener or reader is, and many other contextual factors. Some who like the formal feeling in one context won't like it in another.

As John Feminella mentions in his answer, all of these choices involve subjects that are relatively long. Sometimes, long subjects can contribute to or create a style that is relatively more difficult to read than sentences with short subjects, like *The factory makes xxx + [optional additional information]. However, once we start discussing that issue, we need to consider excluding information and what it means to position information in different places along a sentence, how all these factors interact with each other, with other sentences, and, again, many other factors.


I wouldn't use either form if I could help it, and would favor a more active voice. Instead of:

The firm focused on the development of new widgets

I'd probably say:

The firm developed new widgets.

If pressed, the second form of each case is preferable to me because it is more active and engaging:

The firm focused on developing new widgets.

  • 2
    None of the OP's example expressions have a voice at all, following the usual grammar definition of the term. Your suggestion is not always a bad one, but you are omitting information that the OP's structures contain: famous, dedicated, focused. We don't know enough about the OP's communicative purpose or reason for asking to warrant specific suggestions like this. – Jim Reynolds Apr 20 '15 at 6:37

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