How about + ing ?

SKorea54

New Member
English
Hello,

I am wondering if the underlined part is grammatically correct in the short dialogue below:

Maria: "Jenny, how about skiing?"
Jenny: "Great! Are there any good mountains near here?"

Should this read "how about going skiing" instead or is it ok the way it is? It is also the beginning of a conversation so I also feel like it doesn't sound quite right.
 
  • halthecomputer

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    If you had already suggested something else, you might be able to say "how about skiing". If you're starting a conversation, it has to be "how about going skiing".
     

    Full Tilt Boogie

    Senior Member
    British English
    Both are correct.

    In the first example, I've assumed that there is a conversation going on between Jenny and Maria, and that they are discussing options for the day's activities?

    In the second example you give, the question appears to come 'out of the blue', or on the spur of the moment, an impromptu question, as if Maria has just thought of the idea of going skiing and has asked Jenny as she has thought of it.
     

    SKorea54

    New Member
    English
    Ok, so both "how about skiing?" and "how about going skiing?" are fine, but "how about skiing?" should really be used in the middle of a conversation to suggest an alternative to another activity, and not at the very beginning to open a conversation...

    Thanks so much!
     

    Full Tilt Boogie

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ok, so both "how about skiing?" and "how about going skiing?" are fine, but "how about skiing?" should really be used in the middle of a conversation to suggest an alternative to another activity, and not at the very beginning to open a conversation...

    Thanks so much!
    Not necessarily.

    Say, for instance, you'd like to surprise your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband? You could quite happily begin the sentence with "[So,] How about skiing?"

    Hope that's clear :)
     

    FurryOne

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Does the construction "how about" always require the -ing form? Thanks!
    It depends on the usual name for the activity or object you are suggesting. It's such an informal expression, almost anything goes.

    How about basketball?
    How about going to the movies?
    How about a movie?
    How about lunch?
    How about a date?
    How about leaving me alone?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Does the construction "how about" always require the -ing form? Thanks!
    Yes, it will require the -ing form of a verb.

    This about is a preposition, and prepositions are followed by nouns. Furryone has given several examples. The -ing form of a verb can function as a noun ~ we call it a gerund then. That is the form of the verb you need here.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The sentence 'How about skiing' is actually slightly ambiguous in grammar (though there's no real difference in the meaning). The word 'skiing' can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun it can take a determiner (e.g. 'some') and an adjective (e.g. 'quick'). The result 'some quick skiing' is a noun phrase:

    How about some quick skiing? ['skiing' is a noun here]
    How about a quick coffee?

    Several names of activities can be nouns like this: skiing, swimming, walking. But with most verbs, the ing-form remains a verb. So it takes adverbs, not adjectives:

    - How about quickly running down to the shop for me? ['running' is a verb here]
    - The shop's a long way away. I'll never run that far before it shuts.
    - How about skiing? [this is a verb, not a noun]

    In fact, it occurs to me 'ski' can take an idiomatic dummy 'it': 'ski it' = "ski there, or through that distance". Verbs can take objects, nouns can't, so in the verb use of 'skiing' we could say:

    - How about skiing it? [to get there before the shop shuts]
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'How about' + clause means something like "I suggest this" or "Let's do this". So:

    How about we talk about it . . . = I suggest we talk about it . . . = Let's talk about it . . .
     
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