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?

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    It's a noun. Go ahead and use it. – user16269 Nov 3 '12 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? – Michael J. Gray Nov 3 '12 at 6:36
  • 1
    Take a look at this: english.stackexchange.com/questions/66/… – Jim Nov 3 '12 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. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 3 '12 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 '14 at 19:09

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.

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  • Where could one verify this online without paying for a subscription? – Michael J. Gray Nov 3 '12 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.’ – Barrie England Nov 3 '12 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)

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  • "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 '12 at 7:55

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