Is the expression "viewed as marking" considered idiomatic? I was wondering this because in the following SAT problem, the answer is no error.

Jean Toomer was not only the author of Cane, a novel whose publication has been viewed as marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, but also a respected advisor among Quakers. No error

However, it seems quite strange because I have not heard it being used much. Could someone give more examples of similar cases in addition to the first question?

  • 2
    Be regarded as, be seen as, be viewed as may all be followed by ing- words (often as part of a 'present participial phrase'). 'He is regarded as having enough money to build a new Titanic.' Oct 3, 2015 at 1:37
  • Right. A is regarded/seen/viewed as VP comes via passives from _Indef regards/sees/views A as VP. So "viewed as marking" isn't really a constituent; it's just a few words strung together in a particular construction. Oct 3, 2015 at 2:33
  • @EdwinAshworth I don't think "marking" is part of present participial phrase. It is just a gerund used as an object of a preposition, as.
    – user140086
    Oct 3, 2015 at 4:23
  • @Rathony I'm never happy with the terminology hereabouts. The inverted commas in my comment are scare quotes. I nearly used 'string headed by an ing-word'. But I'd say that 'marking' here is nearer the verb end of the continuum than the noun end. Oct 3, 2015 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


You need to simplify the core clause with which you have a problem and try to change it from the passive voice to the active voice as it is easier to understand.

whose publication has been viewed as marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance

can be changed to

People have viewed (considered/regarded/understood/looked upon/thought of, etc) the publication as marking the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance.

We view a lot of things as as things that have a different capacity, role, character, condition, etc. That's why "as" was used as a preposition to represent things that are viewed/understood/considered/regarded/looked upon/thought of in different capacity, role, character, condition, etc.

"marking" in the sentence is not something that leads a present participial pharase. It is a gerund that is used as an object of a preposition, "as". In the setnence, you can change "marking" into "something that marked the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance".

You have to change a verb into a gerund to use as an object of a preposition.

  • 'People have considered the publication to mark the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance' is a paraphrase and brings out the (in my opinion) intrinsic more verbal flavour of 'mark...' here. // However we analyse it, it's acceptable! Oct 3, 2015 at 13:17
  • @EdwinAshworth If you *view/consider" A as B, B is something else in capacity, role, character, condition etc. Noun can be always omitted as it is redundant. I view/consider him as smart. This sentence is a shortened form of "I view him as a smart guy." The above sentence should have been constructed as "people have viewed the publication as a publication (something) that has marked the... "marking" alone means something that has marked... and that's why I believe it has more noun flavour than verbal. I absolutely agree with you on "however" part.
    – user140086
    Oct 3, 2015 at 14:26
  • Quirk et al have an analysis of the noun-verb continuum of ing-forms in ACGEL. I prefer their analysis to that of CGEL. Oct 3, 2015 at 20:44

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