In the sentence "baking is fun," what part of speech is "baking"?

  • 3
    It might help you to look up what a gerund is. – Davo Sep 12 '19 at 17:41
  • 1
    @Davo Few grammarians use the term nowadays as it's defined in conflicting ways. ACGEL suggests a noun-verb cline here for ing-forms, while CGEL lumps and uses the term 'gerund-participle'. Note that 'Baking bread is fun' is equally grammatical. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 12 '19 at 17:57
  • @EdwinAshworth Thanks, I actually learned about gerunds on this site (as far as I can remember). – Davo Sep 12 '19 at 18:26

This is a gerund: a participle (a form of verb) being used as a noun.

  • 2
    Hello, JB. That's what I was taught 55 years ago. But there are other modern analyses; look at the cited duplicate and other posts under the label-of-convenience 'gerund'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 12 '19 at 18:10
  • @EdwinAshworth does that retroactively apply to older texts? – JJJ Sep 12 '19 at 19:04
  • I'd suggest looking at this answer/thread for a gradience approach, this say as an introduction to participle-'gerund' lumping, and this for the added complication of adjectivity. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 13 '19 at 9:55

Baking is fun

is strictly speaking ambiguous, though verb preferred.

Noun interpretation can be forced by adjectival premodification, as in "Occasional baking is fun."

You didn't ask but likewise with, for example, "I like baking": verb preferred but noun can't be ruled out.

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