skirmishing and skirmish

thtoan79

Senior Member
Vietnamese
Hi everybody,

I can't understand why you, native speakers, use skirmishing as a noun when you already have skirmish as a noun? Are there any differences between these two usages (in general)?

Moreover, I have an example here (from Oxford dictionary), can I replace skirmishing with skirmish?

" There are reports of skirmishing along the border."

Thanks in advance.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The "-ing" form indicates an action over time; the normal noun indicates the concept as an discrete idea.

    " There are reports of skirmishing along the border." -> there are reports of people who are in the process of fighting along the border.
    " There are reports of skirmishes along the border." -> there are reports of individual battles along the border
     
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