From an academic standpoint, attending classes simply enables students to learn more. what kind of grammar form does the word- "Attending" undertake? V-ing (gerund) as a Noun?

  • 1
    It's a verb, more specifically a gerund-participle heading the non-finite subordinate clause "attending classes". Just because it is the subject of the clause doesn't make it a noun.
    – BillJ
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:21
  • See this site for what a gerund phrase is and how the entire phrase is considered one unit: a noun. grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/phrases.htm#gerund Aug 31, 2016 at 1:59
  • 3f. A gerund is a verb form ending in —ing that is used as a noun. 3g. A gerund phrase consists of a gerund together with its complements and modifiers, ALL of which act together as a NOUN. Like nouns, gerunds, are used as subjects, predicate nominatives, direct objects, or objects of prepositions-- John E. Warriner. Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition. Third Course. Liberty Edition. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. 1986. 103. 105. Aug 31, 2016 at 2:06

3 Answers 3


V-ing as a noun. Eg: Singing is my hobby.

  • 2
    It's best to keep the lexical classes of words separate from their functions in a sentence. Singing is a verb -- it's formed by inflecting a plain verb form, it can take an object as in singing songs, and so on. Very unlike nouns. Singing doesn't do normal noun things like have a plural form. However, as a gerund singing can function in the manner that nouns do: as a subject, an object, etc.
    – deadrat
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:37
  • @deadrat Why don't you make that an answer?
    – tchrist
    Aug 30, 2016 at 1:01
  • @deadrat thx.I see.
    – H. Sophie
    Aug 30, 2016 at 4:46

Attend. v. [present participle attending]

A gerund is the --ing form of the verb: attend, attended, attending


From an academic standpoint, attending classes simply enables students to learn more.

Let's diagram a bit:

From an academic standpoint / attending classes / simply /enables /students / to learn more

Subject: attending classes [noun: the gerund "attending" acts as a noun, and when complements and modifiers are added, it becomes a gerund phrase, which acts as a single noun.]

Verb: enables

Direct object: students

  • 1
    "Attending" is a verb, not a noun. It even has a direct object. Just because it is the subject of the clause doesn't make it a noun!
    – BillJ
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:18

Determining which lexical category a word belongs to (i.e., what part of speech it is), may seem like an academic exercise, and of course English being English, there are exceptions to any scheme of rules. But it's probably useful to separate a word's lexical category from is function in a clause.

Grade-school grammar taught us that a noun is a word representing a person, place, or thing, and a verb is a word characterizing an action or a state. From these definitions, a gerund like singing certainly seems like a noun: it's the abstraction of the thing that people do when they perform a song. But let's consider what characterizes nouns and verbs. Nouns

  • have plural forms,
  • have possessive forms,
  • take adjectival modifiers
  • take determiners


  • can be inflected from a base form to carry tense, person, number, and aspect
  • can take subjects and objects

If we examine singing for noun-like characteristics, we find no plural form:

*I'm going to hears singings.

The possessive is possible but awkward:

singing's curative powers

We'd be more likely to say

the curative powers of singing.

The word does take both adjectives and determiners:

The raucous singing is driving me crazy.

but whereas other non-countable nouns can take the definite article for the abstract whole and the indefinite article for one portion --

The beer is flat.
But I'll have a beer anyway.

there's no place for a singing. On the other hand, when we examine verb characteristics, we find that singing is an inflected form of the base form of the verb sing, and it carries the aspect of ongoing or continuing action. Plus, it can take a subject and an object:

Children singing carols always makes me nauseated.

This is something non-verb related nouns never do. So on these grounds, a gerund is better classified as a verb. What gerunds share with nouns is the functional roles in clauses:

  • Subject: Singing is my life.
  • Object: Stop that singing!
  • Predicate complement: My passion is singing.
  • Object of a preposition: I earn my living by singing.
  • Objective complement: You call that singing?
  • Indirect object: You have to give singing its place in the arts.

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