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Smiles, walks, dances, weddings, explosions, hiccups, hand-waves, arrivals and departures, births and deaths, thunder and lightning: the variety of the world seems to lie not only in the assortment of its ordinary citizens—animals and physical objects, and perhaps minds, sets, abstract particulars—but also in the sort of things that happen to or are performed by them. In the last few decades, this view has been a focus of considerable debate in philosophy, with implications reaching far into the concern of other disciplines as well, above all linguistics and the cognitive sciences. Indeed, there is little question that human perception, action, language, and thought manifest at least a prima facie commitment to entities of this sort:

Parties are similar to dances and weddings in that they are events that occur rather than take place. However, I can't find a way to distinguish them from the gerund partying. The article linked elaborated a bit on it in the Events vs Facts section, but I didn't really understand it.

Parties are fun.

Partying is fun.

I can't help but feel that there is something different between these two sentences.

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  • Your question seems to be about English language and usage ... not philosophy per se. Would you like it migrated? – virmaior Dec 15 '15 at 4:28
  • If that's the case, then sure. – Joe Dec 15 '15 at 5:00
  • What's the difference between a "meal" and "eating"? – Hot Licks May 23 '16 at 2:34
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I can only propose an answer. I have no vetted grammar sources to lend weight to these ideas.

Parties are portrayed as countable. In other words they are conceived of as punctive events which have beginnings and ends. Each bout of activity is portrayed as an event with a start and end point.

In contrast, partying is seen as an uncountable activity. Although it may be discontinuous, it is not in itself portrayed as having a beginning or an end point. Each bout of this activity is not portrayed as being a completed partying.

So I don't like partying conveys partying as a single activity which does not constitute an event because the partying being referred to has no beginning or end point as part of its definition. However, I didn't like the party involves an activity portrayed as an event because it has a beginning and an end.

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Partying is not generally an event, it's an activity. Partying describes action, so it's a verb, the gerund of the verb "To party".

The party itself is an event, so it's a noun, a thing.

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  • The definition of "event" is "something takes place," and you can use gerunds in sentences like "partying took place" and "racing took place." – Joe Dec 15 '15 at 19:56

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