In English the constructing for plus a corresponding gerund is often used, usually to identify a motivation for the main action (it seems to be more prevalent in colloquial speech); e.g.:

I thank you for helping me.

I banned him from the bar for picking fights.

What is this construction called?

  • I don't think this is a distinct construction; we can also say "I thank you for your help", "I banned him from the bar for his role in the fight". – ruakh Dec 1 '18 at 2:50
  • Remember that gerunds function as nouns. The construction, then, would be the same one as "Thank you for your help" or "Thank you for the muffins" etc. – Robusto Dec 1 '18 at 3:32
  • 1
    @Robusto That's almost right, but not quite. Gerund phrases/clauses function as noun phrases, but gerunds themselves function only as verbs (because, in fact, that’s what they are :). So the gerund being a verb takes a direct object in helping me and in picking fights, and it is only the entire gerund phrase/clause in toto which is actually functioning as a noun phrase to allow that constituent to be the object of the preposition.. The distinction may be subtle, and it is often neglected in off-the-cuff explanations to grade-school children, but it is an important one. – tchrist Dec 1 '18 at 5:43
  • The for element is a preposition phrase headed by "for" with the gerund-participial clauses "helping me" / "picking fights" as its complement. The PPs serve as reason adjuncts in clause structure. – BillJ Dec 1 '18 at 8:04
  • @tchrist: "Sharing is caring." How are there not two nouns in that sentence? – Robusto Dec 1 '18 at 11:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.