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A case refers to a "binding" or authoritative decision made by the court. Binding is a verb, noun or an adjective?

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    It's a participle functioning as an adjective. – Tushar Raj Mar 6 '18 at 15:16
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    @TusharRaj Please put answers in the Your Answer box, not in the Add Comment box. – tchrist Mar 6 '18 at 15:42
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    @tchrist: You could've asked me before you posted your answer :) – Tushar Raj Mar 6 '18 at 15:46
  • Welcome to EL&U. Up-voted for a good question. – Nigel J Mar 6 '18 at 16:28
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It’s very much an adjective in a binding decision.

Adjective: a binding decision

In a binding decision, the word binding is an adjective, not something else.

It was originally the -ing inflection of the verb to bind, but is no longer a verb. It isn’t a verb because it cannot take object arguments here. You can’t have “a binding their wrists together decision”. (This was not a very good argument; see below for better ones.)

The OED calls binding in this sense a participial adjective to signal its origin.

In a comment, BillJ offered much better syntactic tests than my lame one proving binding is an adjective here:

"Binding" is not a VP here, but a participial adjective. It has syntactic properties of indisputable adjectives and hence must belong in that class. For example, it can be modified by very, which can't modify verbs; it can occur as complement to complex-intransitive verbs like seem (It seemed quite binding), or complex-transitive verbs like find (I found it quite binding).

If you want just one short reason to remember, then because it can be a very binding decision, it can be neither a verb nor a noun, only an adjective.

Noun: a binding manual

For an example where binding is a noun, consider that if you didn’t know how to bind books, so you went off searching for a binding manual. That’s not a manual which “is” binding the way the decision “is” binding, but rather it’s a manual that’s “about” or “for” binding. That means binding is a noun there. Notice you can’t modify it with very and say *a very binding manual. You can’t have a manual explaining “very” binding.

Verb: binding your wrists

For binding to be a verb, we can go back to the example of binding your wrists. There it’s definitely a verb because it has a direct object.

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    Hmm ... I don't think that the 'attributive' position deverbalizes. Participles are by definition ambivalent. The absence of an explicit following complement licenses placing a participle employed as a modifier before its head, but any modifier--frank adjective, participle, or noun--with a following complement must be placed after the head. It is possible to set a clear verbal participle before the head: consider a precedent-setting decision. – StoneyB Mar 6 '18 at 15:44
  • Intransitive verbs don't take objects. That doesn't make them not verbs. – Acccumulation Mar 6 '18 at 16:13
  • I can see @tchrist 's argument, here. 'Binding' has become so attached to the noun 'decision', that it can no longer be separated from it (as he demonstrates) and can no longer function independently. Makes sense. – Nigel J Mar 6 '18 at 16:26
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    I agree @tchrist. "Binding" is not a VP here, but a participial adjective. It has syntactic properties of indisputable adjectives and hence must belong in that class. For example, it can be modified by very, which can't modify verbs; it can occur as complement to complex-intransitive verbs like seem (It seemed quite binding), or complex-transitive verbs like find (I found it quite binding). – BillJ Mar 6 '18 at 17:15
  • @StoneyB: There seem to be different views about whether attributive position is a good reason to consider a word an adjective (see the answers to Is “running” a gerund or a participial adjective?); however, I agree with the first part of your comment. I'm not sure about your last sentence: it seems to me "precedent-setting" could be considered to be a compound adjective. – sumelic Mar 6 '18 at 17:28

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