In this sentence, the noun savings is in plural form:

I have one savings account.

It is like a gerund or maybe it is a gerund, I am not clear about it. But when I searched the Internet, I found somewhere claiming that a gerund is always singular, but somewhere else claiming that some gerunds do have plural forms.

I am confused. As far as I understand it, saying that a gerund is a verbal noun means that it is a verb as well as a noun at the same time, but that it is also not a noun.

The Internet suggests that gerunds iwth plural forms like drawings, meanings , and so one do not seem to be gerunds at all but they do seem to be nouns.

I want to know:

  1. Do gerunds have plural forms? If so, could you please give me some examples?

  2. Are the nouns drawing, meaning, etc. actually really gerunds, or are they actually really nouns?

  3. What is the difference between a gerund and a noun?

  • 1
    Although note that in savings account/s, 'savings' is used as a plural-form (-s) attributive; this models more on 'systems manager' than -ing*-form usages. It's best to regard 'savings account' as a compound noun, and, if you must, 'savings' here as being deverbal and plural in form. Feb 23, 2020 at 19:44
  • The best advice is to forget you ever heard the word gerund. Much of what you read on the Internet is simply wrong about this. A gerund is not a part of speech but rather a particular type of syntactic relation a certain kind of nonfinite clause can fulfil. The only parts of speech that matter here are nouns, verbs, and adjectives, so whenever you see an -ing word, you should decide which one of those three parts of speech it is. Note also that POS categories are highlander ones: “There can be only one.”
    – tchrist
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:48
  • "A Grammar of Contemporary English" by Randolph Quirk give a very helpful guide to the "-ing" form at p124 (if you can tolerate a few scanning errors). That section ends with "In this book we shall disregard the distinction between gerund and participle," A copy can be found at studyres.com/doc/524405/a-grammar-of-contemporary-english
    – Greybeard
    Feb 23, 2020 at 20:15
  • 1
    "Savings" can't be a gerund, because gerunds are verbs, and verbs don't have plural forms. Here, it's a noun, the first part of the compound noun "savings account".
    – Greg Lee
    Feb 24, 2020 at 1:09
  • @GregLee That's right: nonfinite verbs have no plurals in English. That said, finite verbs actually do have plural forms—I think. One at least does so. Certainly is/are and was/were count as an existence proof albeit for that most unusual of verbs in our language, but quite possibly also the rest like does/do as well depending on what you think of the base form.
    – tchrist
    Feb 24, 2020 at 1:57

1 Answer 1


Saving is used as

(i) A participle: "He was saving me time."

(ii) A gerund "Saving now will benefit you later."

(iii) A verbal noun: "The saving of the ship cost 20 lives." /There is a saving of $5 if you buy now.


Saving (n.) 5c. A sum of money set aside or kept in reserve. Now usually in plural: money accumulated by economizing or by setting aside (esp. on a regular basis) a portion of one's income.

Savings is a verbal noun

A verbal noun differs from a gerund in that it is qualified by an adjective (as in common nouns, of which it is part) and may have a plural form.

  • 1
    No; 'savings' is (at least getting towards) a deverbal noun. Note that 'the saving of the ship' does not pluralise; one would speak (awkwardly) of 'the saving of HMS Pyramid and SS Sphynx', not the savings. 'Multiple savings [can be made ...]' show countification taking place in one of the financial subsenses (I think one has to speak of multiple savings accounts). Feb 23, 2020 at 19:40

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