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How do I explain using "overfilling" instead of "overfill" in the following sentence?

We needed to announce the party just a few days from the date to avoid overfill the salon.

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  • Overfill here is a noun, you cannot use it without an article ("to avoid AN overfill of the salon"), overfilling a verb on present participle. What may confuse you is that the same ending in -ing is used for gerunds, that are used as noun also. i.e "a tooth filling"
    – P. O.
    Dec 17, 2015 at 16:01
  • @choster But why is it the grammatical form? Dec 17, 2015 at 16:14
  • I thought this sentence could be written two ways: a) We needed to announce the party just a few days from the date to avoid overfill the salon or b) We needed to announce the party just a few days from the date to avoid an overfill of the salon. Is one more correct than the other?
    – michele
    Jan 20, 2016 at 17:47

1 Answer 1

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The verb AVOID can take a noun phrase (a phrase headed by a noun) as a Complement:

  • Avoid [the rush].

Many verbs that can take a noun phrase as a Complement cannot take finite clauses as Complements:

  • *We wanted to avoid [we did that]. (ungrammatical)

Many verbs that take noun phrases as Complements cannot take to-infinitival clauses as Complements:

  • *We wanted to avoid [to do that]. (ungrammatical)

However, most verbs that can take phrases headed by nouns as Complements, if we want them to, can also take gerund-participle clauses (-ing clauses) as a Complement:

  • We wanted to avoid [doing that].

Note that what Complements a verb takes depends on the individual verb.

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