A girl says, "I'm going out mom." She gets angry and says, "Enough of your going outs."

Is this correct? I mean the usage of "going outs" in this sentence.

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    Hello, Bahman. The use of -ing forms as nouns (or as though they were very like nouns; Quirk for instance prefers a gradience approach) is extremely common. 'His comings and goings have been watched carefully.' Kipling uses the ing-form + particle construction: 'The Cruiser's thund'rous screw proclaims Her comings out and goings in: ...' in The Trade. But notice that he inflects the ing-forms, not the particles. Check by Googling "going outs" and "goings out". – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '15 at 11:43
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    Perhaps usage is changing; "goings out" only outperforms "going outs" in a ratio of 3 : 1. But try a comparison of "goings on" (possibly hyphenated) with "going ons". Note also that "goings-on" appears in dictionaries. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '15 at 11:53
  • Hangout has been a noun for twelve centuries. – Ricky Nov 21 '15 at 12:16
  • I'm trying to recall some semi-familiar classic poem or saying that contains something like "their going outs and coming ins". – Hot Licks Nov 21 '15 at 12:42
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    @Hot Licks - I expect you are thinking of the Jewish blessing/benediction - it occurs at least four times in the Bible, but the translations I found in a quick google have it in the singular in each case. – David M W Powers Nov 21 '15 at 14:35

Coming and going are sometimes used as synonyms for the nouns arrival and departure. However, in your example, the phrase "I'm going out" is describing the girl's action, not her person. In this context, going out is not a noun and therefore has no plural. The mother's reply should then be simply "Enough of your going out," if she objects to the departures, or if it's the phrase that she objects to, "Enough of your 'going out's."

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    +1 I'm not sure why this was downvoted. The mother's use of what sounds like "going outs" is very likely a mimicking of the daughter's phrase—which amounts to putting the words in quotation marks and then making the phrase plural to emphasize that the daughter's going out and the mother' dissatisfaction with her behavior (either her unilateral decision to go out or the vagueness of her plans thus communicated—or maybe both) have occurred before. It's the same situation as in this imaginary dialogue. PARENT: Clean up you're room! CHILD: I'm going to. PARENT: I've had it with your "going to"s! – Sven Yargs Nov 21 '15 at 23:34

Yes - "going outs" is correct in this informal context, although "goings out" is probably the more correct plural.

Edited to follow up the point made well above ... when written it should be "Enough of your 'going out's", where "going out" is the mother quoting back the daughter's regular (vague) phrase.

In this form "going out" is the complete object, and shouldn't be broken in order to add the otherwise correct plural on "going".

But to the broader point - gerunds ( ... ing) are used all the time in English as nouns, although often they are not formally recognised as such.

So many (most) people will say: "I trust Jane going to the bank every day for me.", whereas "I trust Jane's going ... " is grammatically more correct, but almost always sounds a bit pretentious.

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