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What is the grammatical name and function for doing this in the sentence above?

  • Grammar, capitalisation, punctuation?
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 6:36
  • 2
    Answered by tchrist at When does a gerund become a verb? << B. Running as a verb: the gerund A gerund is a verbal inflection used for a particular kind of non-finite verbal phrase; it acts mostly like a to-infinitive phrase does in this regard. Like a to-infinitive, the entire gerund phrase serves as a noun phrase and so can serve as the subject of a clause or the object of a preposition, but the gerund itself is a verb form that does verb things. Running bulls is harder work than herding cats. >> Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 9:41
  • There's also the usual argument about whether CGEL is infallible, how useful and consensual POS classifications really are ... Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 9:48
  • That's called a gerund phrase, Ben.
    – user231780
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:50
  • @BlackandWhite Who's Ben? Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


It is an example of a gerund, a verb form that functions as a noun.

“Doing” is the gerund.

The phrase “doing this” functions as the noun (and subject of the sentence).

  • A gerund is a verb, not a noun! Welcome to EL&U, btw :-) Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:10
  • 1
    Correct. I was oversimplifying. Indeed, a gerund is a formulation of a verb the acts as a noun grammatically. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:12
  • Not my downvote, btw!!! Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:16
  • @Araucaria According to Quirk et al, the term 'gerund' is not well-defined enough to be used. But they propose a gradience of ing-forms on a noun ... verb continuum, with this usage rather nearer the verb end than say fishing in fishing is fun. Some believe that the ACGEL analysis is better than the CGEL one (a lumping into gerund-participial) here. And Bob's slowly painting the fence was beginning to annoy her makes a mess of all logical diagnostics. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 9:54
  • @EdwinAshworth I'm not sure that Bob's slowly painting the fence was beginning to annoy her is so problematic, after all it doesn't have a determinative, uses an adverb and has a direct object*, but I agree that there are problematic instances such as there's no doubting her sincerity, for example. Bas would opt for a gradience between nounier and less nouny verbs with a noun at the very end. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 10:20

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