I have several components in a piece of software I am working with and we want to select names that are nouns which describe the components.

We have the following names:

  • Automation
  • Retrieval
  • Parsing

It has been brought up by a team member that "parsing" is a transitive verb and not a noun and that we should select a new name to maintain consistency.

Can the word "parsing" be used as both a noun and a transitive verb?

Why is "parsing" not a noun?

  • 5
    It's a noun. Go ahead and use it.
    – user16269
    Nov 3, 2012 at 6:24
  • I originally thought that it was. Upon looking through several dictionaries I have found that there is no alternate definition or classification that indicates it is a noun. Why is that? Nov 3, 2012 at 6:36
  • 1
    Take a look at this: english.stackexchange.com/questions/66/…
    – Jim
    Nov 3, 2012 at 6:50
  • 1
    Tell your colleagues that 'parsing' is a gerund: the '-ing' form of a verb employed as a noun. And point out that their other terms are also constructed by adding a suffix to a verb: automate, retrieve. Nov 3, 2012 at 13:11
  • No word that ends in -ing is a verb. All of them are either present participles or gerunds. A participle is an adjective formed from a verb and a gerund is a noun formed from a verb. In this case, parsing is most definitely a noun.
    – Anonym
    Jan 27, 2014 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


You might like to tell your fellow team member that the Oxford English Dictionary records parsing as having been used as a noun since the sixteenth century.

  • Where could one verify this online without paying for a subscription? Nov 3, 2012 at 10:05
  • Here’s the OED’s earliest citation. It’s from Roger Ascham’s ‘Scholemaster’, published in the late sixteenth century: ‘Plaine construinge, diligent parsinge.’ Nov 3, 2012 at 10:21

The noun form of parse is, well, parse. NOAD gives the following description:

Computing: an act of or the result obtained by parsing a string or a text.

So how do you use parsing as a noun? The gerund form of a verb could be used as a noun. Here are some examples:

Run: (runs, running ; past ran |ran|; past participle run). Noun: Run.

So you could say a cross country run. Or

Running keeps you healthy. Here running is used as a noun. Or

Parsing is a common term used in psycholinguistics when describing language comprehension.(Wikipedia)

  • 1
    "Parse" as a noun has a different meaning from "parsing" as a noun; and it seems clear that the former is not what the OP wants.
    – user16269
    Nov 3, 2012 at 7:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.