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Please consider these two different sentences*:

  1. I am aware of the using of this machine.
  2. I am accused of using my neighbour’s wifi.

Why do we use the article the before the using in the first sentence, but we don’t use an article before in the second sentence?

It’s the same gerund in both cases: the word using. So how can in some cases a gerund takes an article, but in other cases that same gerund does not take an article?

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    Answer: We don't use the in the first sentence, because the first sentence is ungrammatical. In the second sentence the gerund phrase is the object of the preposition of, which is required by accuse when mentioning the offense. – John Lawler Nov 19 '16 at 19:28
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    @JohnLawler There's nothing ungrammatical about the first sentence. The boss may call his subordinates together to complain about inappropriate use of the company's copier: I am aware of the using of this machine after hours and for personal reasons. Use is much more popular than using in this context, but the intertubes attests to the using of the latter. – deadrat Nov 19 '16 at 19:41
  • And "using" in your second example is a verb, not a noun, and verbs can't take an article. You can tall that it's a verb because of the following direct object -- nouns cannot have direct objects without "of". – Greg Lee Nov 19 '16 at 19:43
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    The main thing is that the noun "use" exists, so there is no need to resort to the gerundal noun "using", and hence it's not idiomatic. – Hot Licks Nov 19 '16 at 22:28
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Gerunds are only ever verbs, never nouns

I think your mistake is pretending that any word that ends in -ing and which is derived from a verb is a “gerund”. This is not true. To be a gerund, it must be verb. And the first one is not:using is not gerund in first sentence. It’s only a noun—a deverbal noun, if you prefer. Nouns do noun things like taking articles, adjectives, and prepositional phrases.

For example, here taming is a noun only, not a verb, and therefore not a gerund:

  • the quick taming of the shrew

You can tell it’s a noun not a verb because it’s doing noun things only, and it’s not doing verb things.

In contrast, here taming is indeed a verb with none of the customary nominal appurtenances:

  • quickly taming the shrew

This time taming takes an adverb not an adjective, has a direct-object argument, and accepts no article. That makes it a verb, not a noun. It is therefore a gerund. The other one is not.

But entire gerund phrases can replace entire noun phrases

A gerund phrase is a kind of non-finite verb phrase that is able to do the job of a noun phrase, including serving as the a clause’s subject and as a verb’s object complement or a prepositional object.

  • Quickly taming the shrew is your best strategy. (gerund phrase as subject of copular verb)
  • I recommend quickly taming the shrew. (gerund phrase as direct object of the verb)
  • By quickly taming the shrew, you have restored tranquility in our household. (gerund phrase as prepositional object)

Those are gerunds, so only verbs not nouns. And those gerund phrases are not nouns, either, because you cannot do a noun thing to a gerund phrase even though a gerund phrase can itself do a noun-phrase thing. You have to look at these as replaceable constituents.

The other construction has no verb in it at all. It’s just a regular old noun phrase, not a gerund phrase.

  • The quick taming of this shrew is your best strategy. (noun phrase as subject of copular verb)
  • I recommend the quick taming of this shrew. (noun phrase as direct object of the verb)
  • By the quick taming of this shrew, you have restored tranquility in our household. (noun phrase as prepositional object)

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