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I have been having a disagreement at work. We have several events where we commemorate the launch of something like the start of an alliance or an award.

My colleagues (whose first language is not English) insist the correct usage is e.g. "Innovation Award Launching Ceremony" whereas I'm certain "Launch Ceremony" in the context of an award or an alliance is more appropriate. I can't explain why though and I've looked all over the internet for the rule that applies to this scenario.

Anyone want to give it a go?

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  • If I went to a launching ceremony, I'd be expecting to see a boat.
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 19 '19 at 19:01
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I have mostly heard of 'launch ceremony'.

Of course, the other one doesn't seem grammatically incorrect either.

However, at the first glance, I would interpret 'Innovation Award Launching Ceremony' as a ceremony regarding Innovation Award Launching!

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We would never find fault with "Restaurant ground breaking ceremony" so it is reasonable to consider the use of an -ing verb in this case as grammatically correct.

However, it is also true that non-native speakers of a language who are familiar with the grammar of the language can use rules of grammar to come phrases that are not common or not ever used by native speakers of the language. (Phrases that are grammatically correct, but sound odd to native speakers)

For example, as a non native speaker of Chinese, I find it very easy to come up with Chinese sentences that are both grammatically correct according to rules of Chinese grammar, but also completely odd sounding to a native speaker (so odd they would perceive the sentence to be grammatically incorrect)

It probably feels wrong because launching is simply not normally used in this way. Perhaps because the verb here is "continuous" and we don't conceive of the event/act as continuous.

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