I don't understand the grammar in this question:

Doesn't Denise do enough talking already?

I know gerunds can be used with some verbs, as a subject. But in this sentence, I don't know why a gerund is used or if it can be written in another way.

  • Gerund can act as an object too; talking is in the place of an object here. May 15, 2018 at 17:50
  • 1
    "Talking" is a noun as head of the NP "enough talking already" functioning as direct object of "do." That it is a noun is evident from the fact that it is modified by "enough" (adjectives don't modify verbs). Incidentally, forget the word 'gerund', you don't need it since it does no work, though you could call "talking" a gerundial noun if you liked. Words like "talking" are either verbs or nouns.
    – BillJ
    May 15, 2018 at 19:16
  • (Adjective/noun/subject of verb) His hurried walking soon tired him out. (Adverb/verb) Hurriedly walking, he then broke into a sprint as the train began to move away from him.
    – Nigel J
    May 15, 2018 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Let's just use a statement as an example, OK? This isn't about questions.

  • Denise does enough talking already.

The do ... talking constitutes a light verb construction, using the pro-verb do, with the actual meaningful verb demoted to a nominal direct object. This works with any active verb

  • Then we'll do some swimming, and later some dancing.
  • He does his practicing at night, under the bridge.
  • They do a lot of shooting up there, but not on Sundays.

The noun object doesn't have to be formed with -ing, though those nouns usually work fine if the verb is active; however, any noun that refers to an activity will work.

  • They do a little archery up there, too.
  • He does carpentry on the side.

Do (often in the form do it) is the pro-verb for active verbs (this is not the same do as the Do-Support do, which applies to any verb, active or stative), and is often used alone when the activity is already the subject of conversation.

  • I know they're mad at him, but what did he do?
  • Just go ahead and do it, no matter what he says.

So the do .. NP construction is pretty common, and plenty of active noun phrases are formed from -ing participles. These aren't gerunds, though, because gerunds can have objects and can't have articles.

  • *They have done some drinking my whiskey. (ungrammatical with object my whiskey)
  • I have already done the writing. (writing is grammatical with article the)

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