I have already used structures such as "I don't like him singing the song" or "I don't like his singing the song". It dates back to years age when I learned it. So I wonder if I can use the following structure:

In these stories, the reader still expects the story to continue and receives no sign of the story ending.

where, I refer to ending as a gerund. I am quite tempted to use this sentence and it sounds right. However, I don't know if It is correct grammatically and why if so?

  • 1
    Ending is a noun, why should it be a gerund in your sentence? or ..receives no singn that the story is ending!
    – user66974
    Oct 30, 2014 at 8:33
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    It's perfectly grammatical and idiomatic, though the triple use of the word "story" might draw too much attention to the text rather than the message; a native speaker might use pronouns in place of one or more of the "stories" (e.g. "... its ending").
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 30, 2014 at 8:34
  • It's fine. "ending" = "coming to an end" here. Why the doubt?
    – Kris
    Oct 30, 2014 at 8:57
  • @josh there's more than one error in your reasoning.
    – Kris
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:00
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    A gerund is a verb used as a noun, e.g. At the ending of an era, a new one starts. But I am not clear that 'I see no sign of the story ending' is a gerund. How can ending be a noun in that phrase?
    – WS2
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


A useful way to tell whether an -ing form is a noun or a verb is to see whether it would need an adjective or an adverb to modify it. Sometimes it's ambiguous, but not here. "...receives no sign of the story sudden ending"* plainly sounds wrong, whereas "...receives no sign of the story suddenly ending" is fine. "Ending" in that sentence needs an adverb, not an adjective, so it's unambiguously a verb, not a noun. It's not a gerund.

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