Both submission and submitting mean the same thing: "...the action of presenting a proposal <....> for consideration or judgment."

I tried to figure out a difference in meaning but did not manage to find one.

Which is better to use when I am speaking about an act of sending some e-documents to the office admins?

a) An employee sends the documents, and if the submitting is successful, then the task is complete.
b) An employee sends the documents, and if the submission is successful, then the task is complete.

Not only can I not choose the correct option, I can't even understand what is the difference in meaning. Could you please help?

  • Look at the respective parts of speech. Nov 13, 2017 at 16:12
  • When both an ing-form and a regular noun are available, the difference is often in emphasis. 'The submitting of' ... focuses more on the historical event, the doing; 'the submission of ...' is less sharply focused, involving the overall picture. Here, you want 'submission' as you need everything (not just the delivery of the letter or transfer of data) to be successful: you need to get the answer yes from the board too. Nov 13, 2017 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


In the book publishing industry, the word submission would be the correct choice, as it is a set term. Submission is the noun used for a manuscript as well as the act of submitting the manuscript. In your sample sentences, certainly (b) is the preferred choice. However, that sentence is ambiguous. What do you mean by the submission's being successful? Do you mean that the submitted documents were successfully delivered (the recipients received them)? Is it successful if the employee completed the act of mailing the document (whether or not it was received)? Is it successful if the submitted document was accepted and approved (the way, for example, a manuscript is accepted for publication)? The noun submitting would only refer to the act of submitting (so that success wold reside in the completion of the act of sending the documents), whereas the noun submission could also refer to the documents themselves (so that success could mean that the documents were found to be acceptable).

  • I agree; a better word than successful should be used. Nov 14, 2017 at 17:43

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