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The generation of the product list takes about an hour.
The generating of the product list takes about an hour.

It feels like with verbs, generating is not finished in the moment while generation is generic and might be finished in the moment it is mentioned.

Am I correct with this assumption, is either of those words better or more common than the other?

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  • On StackOverflow, when we close-vote or downvote a question, we leave a helpful comment that allows the OP to improve the question. It would be nice to get a helpful comment from the voters here, too.
    – Daniel W.
    Jul 2, 2020 at 17:52
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    Does this answer your question? Using Nouns or Gerunds Jul 2, 2020 at 18:07

1 Answer 1

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The generation of the product list takes about an hour.

This is grammatically correct and understandable. It is rather formal (you may want to be formal). In conversation, you would be more likely to hear the following from a native speaker.

It takes about an hour to generate the product list.


The generating of the product list takes about an hour.

This is possible and I'm sure most people would understand what you meant. However it isn't idiomatic and, in a sense, is a misuse of the gerund. Far more likely is:

Generating the product list takes about an hour.

Why use the gerund here? Well you have to because, "Generation the product list takes about an hour", doesn't make sense.


If you want a rule, I think I'm safe in saying, "Use the noun if it's available and makes sense. Otherwise consider the gerund."

Let's see if others agree.

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  • Let me give you some more context: The focus is not on the product list but on the generating. I need this for a label like "Refactoring list generation" or "Refactoring list generating".
    – Daniel W.
    Jul 2, 2020 at 17:54
  • @Daniel W. - Then my rule applies, i .e. Use the noun if it's available and makes sense. This gives, "Refactoring-list generation". Note the use of the hyphen. It shows which words go together. Jul 2, 2020 at 17:59
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    Right, either generating the x or the generation of the x. NO: generating of the x, since the noun exists.
    – Lambie
    Jul 2, 2020 at 18:25

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