Taking/Take baths is good...

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firee818

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

What is the reason to add -ing to 'take' and 'brush' for the following sentences:-

1). Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly are good habits.
2)/ Take baths and brush your teeth regularly are good habits.

I thought sentence (2) is as good as (1).
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    1). Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly are good habits.
    2)/ Take baths and brush your teeth regularly are good habits.
    1. The -ing form indicates that the you spend time doing an action:

    Spending time taking baths and spending time brushing your teeth regularly are good habits.

    2. Take and brush appear to be verbs in the imperative (commands) in { "Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} are good habits." and that would mean that there are too many active verbs in the sentence.

    3. {Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly} is the subject of the sentence; it is a noun phrase - only nouns, noun phrases, pronouns and gerunds can be subjects; {Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} is not a noun phrase.
    I thought sentence (2) is as good as (1).
    No. 2. is wrong
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1. The -ing form indicates that the you spend time doing an action:

    Spending time taking baths and spending time brushing your teeth regularly are good habits.

    2. Take and brush appear to be verbs in the imperative (commands) in { "Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} are good habits." and that would mean that there are too many active verbs in the sentence.

    3. {Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly} is the subject of the sentence; it is a noun phrase - only nouns, noun phrases, pronouns and gerunds can be subjects; {Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} is not a noun phrase.
    No. 2. is wrong
    In what context, -ing indicates spending time? Is it present participle?
    When is the appropriate time to use noun phrase?
    Could you provide links to master the above-mentioned grammars?

    Thanks
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hello.
    That reminds me of the ESL song "Daily Activities."* The song presents a list of daily activities, of things to do:
    "Eat my breakfast. Take a shower.
    Brush my teeth. (...) I have an hour."
    The author, Maureen Stewart, said that the verbs eat, take and brush were used as imperatives. She added "The idea is that the speaker is recounting a list of commands - things he is telling himself that he must do every day.
    If you were to replace the phrases with waking up, brushing my teeth, taking a shower, it would also be fine however the meaning would be different."

    * Website: eslclassics.com: ESL Classics - songs for learning English: Daily Activities.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In what context does -ing indicates indicate spending time?
    All contexts.
    Is it a present participle
    In your context, it is a present participle.

    Running made him hot. -> Running is a noun (a gerund)
    The running boy fell. -> Running is an adjective - it modifies "boy".
    I am running fast. -> Running is the present participle.
    The boy running past me fell -> running past me is a reduced relative clause = who was running past me -> running is the present participle.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm not sure how the grammar of "spend time doing something" works, but the object following the non-finite verb suggests that "doing" is more of a gerund here than a present participle.

    Some may even suggest that there is an elided preposition here: spend time (in) doing something.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Mark Foley and Diane Hall in "New Total English Elementary", page 107, section: -ing form as a noun, called the -ing form an "-ing verb subject":
    " (...) Parking is really difficult in Madrid.
    We use singular verbs with -ing verb subjects.
    Flying is expensive."
    Does it mean that the -ing form in those sentences is a noun which preserves the quality of a verb?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Does it mean that the -ing form in those sentences is a noun which preserves the quality of a verb?
    I am not sure what you mean by "quality".

    In this example
    Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly are good habits. :tick:
    the gerunds taking and brushing are like nouns in that they can be the subject of the verb are, and they are like verbs in that they can have objects such as baths and your teeth.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    With help from the OED:
    There is a distinction to be made between a verbal noun and a gerund:

    The
    running of the race was organised by the committee. - verbal noun
    And
    The race involved running, swimming and cycling. - gerund

    The verbal noun has the (or other determiner) before it, and of (or other preposition) after it; the gerund has neither.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1. The -ing form indicates that the you spend time doing an action:

    Spending time taking baths and spending time brushing your teeth regularly are good habits.

    2. Take and brush appear to be verbs in the imperative (commands) in { "Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} are good habits." and that would mean that there are too many active verbs in the sentence.

    3. {Taking baths and brushing your teeth regularly} is the subject of the sentence; it is a noun phrase - only nouns, noun phrases, pronouns and gerunds can be subjects; {Take baths and brush your teeth regularly} is not a noun phrase.
    No. 2. is wrong
    Why No.2 is wrong?
    I can use as an imperative.

    2) Take baths and brush your teeth regularly are good habits.

    Please explain
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello.
    That reminds me of the ESL song "Daily Activities."* The song presents a list of daily activities, of things to do:
    "Eat my breakfast. Take a shower.
    Brush my teeth. (...) I have an hour."
    The author, Maureen Stewart, said that the verbs eat, take and brush were used as imperatives. She added "The idea is that the speaker is recounting a list of commands - things he is telling himself that he must do every day.
    If you were to replace the phrases with waking up, brushing my teeth, taking a shower, it would also be fine however the meaning would be different."

    * Website: eslclassics.com: ESL Classics - songs for learning English: Daily Activities.
    What is the difference in meaning between:-
    1). Wake up vs Waking up
    2). Brush my teeth vs Brushing my teeth
    3). Take a shower vs Taking a shower


    Thank you.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If take is an imperative, it cannot be followed by a verb (are).
    Example:
    Get up early tomorrow is essential. :cross:
    Getting up early tomorrow is essential.:tick:
    To get up early tomorrow is essential.
    :cross:
    Getting up is an activity.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If take is an imperative, it cannot be followed by a verb (are).
    Example:
    1). Get up early tomorrow is essential. :cross:
    2). Getting up early tomorrow is essential.:tick:
    3). To get up early tomorrow is essential.
    :cross:
    Getting up is an activity.
    I see.

    So, if I use (1) as an imperative, is it written as follows:-
    1). Get up early tomorrow.

    By the way, why (3) is wrong?

    Is the following sentence correctly written?
    4). To take baths and to brush your teeth regularly are good habits.

    For sentence (2), could you elaborate why 'getting up' is an activity. Is 'Getting' mentioned here a gerund?
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    For sentence (2), could you elaborate why 'getting up' is an activity.
    That is explained in #11.
    For sentence (2), could you elaborate why 'getting up' is an activity.
    Getting up early tomorrow is a noun phrase. We know it is a noun phrase because it is the subject of the verb "is". Subjects must be nouns (a nominal). Getting up is an activity - "activity" is a noun.

     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That is explained in #11.
    Getting up early tomorrow is a noun phrase. We know it is a noun phrase because it is the subject of the verb "is". Subjects must be nouns (a nominal). Getting up is an activity - "activity" is a noun.
    So `getting' is a gerund. Please confirm.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    What you describe as a gerund is called an -ing form in current terminology. No serious grammar book today uses the term gerund, as far as I am aware.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    No serious grammar book today uses the term gerund, as far as I am aware.
    That, to me, is too broad a generalisation:

    English nominal gerund phrases as noun phrases with verb-phrase heads : Linguistics by GEOFFREY K. PULLUM (Whether you consider Pullum to be serious or not is another matter.)

    From the acknowledgements in The English Gerund-participle: A Comparison with the Infinitive” By Patrick J. Duffley
    Gerund vs Infinitive as Complements of Transitive Verbs in English:
    The Problems of Tense and Control”, Journal of English Linguistics 28(3), PP. 221-248, © 2000 by Sage Publications. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications, Inc.

    The Gerund and the to-infinitive as Subject”, Journal of English Linguistics 31(4), pp. 324-352, © 2003 by Sage Publications. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications, Inc.

    "Verbs of Liking with the Infinitive and the Gerund", English Studies 85(4), pp. 358-380, 0 2004 by Taylor & Francis (www.tandf.co.uk). Reprinted by permission of publisher. All rights reserved.
    I think it depends a lot on the level at which the matter is studied/discussed. I'm unsure how advanced the OP is, or whether she can understand the difference between a verbal noun and a gerund, or, as you suggest, that it is necessary for her to do this.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I did say books.

    Take the following grammar books:

    The book you mention is based on CGEL (see below) and only uses gerund when quoting traditional views.
    Quirk et al. 1985 "For reasons that will now be plain, we do not find it useful to distinguish a gerund from a participle ..."
    Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) (Huddleston & Pullum 2002): the authors do not distinguish between gerund and participle, using the one term gerund-participle.
    Biber et al. Longman Grammar 2005: no mention is made of gerund, only the -ing form.
    Leech A Glossary of English Grammar 2006: "In this book, the -ing form is a general term for words called either ‘gerund’ or ‘present participle’ in traditional approaches to grammar."
    Crystal Dictionary of Linguistics 2008: "the purpose of the term [gerund] is to provide a neutral descriptive label for this feature of English, thus avoiding the use of such traditional notions as ‘gerund’, which were originally devised for Latin grammar."
    Bas Aarts Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar 2014: " For this reason the term [gerund] is perhaps best avoided."

    The only mention I can find of gerund is in Greenbaum's Oxford English Grammar 1996.

    The view taken in the books I mention is that the term gerund is traditionally used for the noun-like use of the -ing form. But none of them see fit to use this term. I am not saying that the -ing form does not have different uses.

    What I don't understand is that I can find no reference to US grammars of English. If they exist, what are they?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    A search for "English Grammar" on Amazon.com will produce a number of examples. I took one at random: GMAT Ultimate Grammar: The Only Guide You Need
    By GMAT Club. It has quite a lot on gerunds and is a US publication for the US market. Unfortunately, some of the explanations of gerunds are not really accurate but they would probably serve to get you through an exam with a pass mark.

    The history of the -ing form doesn't really lend itself to any simple explanation that is easily applicable in practice, and I suspect that the term "the -ing form" is no more than a leaky umbrella that has taken the place of the adjective, adverb, participle, gerund, verbal noun, noun, etc into which 'the -ing form' may be categorised in one context or another. This would be fine if some of the categories were not debatable and others obvious.

    Nevertheless, the foreign student of English is taught to hunt out tame examples these categories of the -ing form in sunny weather but the same students are left to fend for themselves when the cold winds of reality blow.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    By books on grammar I have in mind books about grammatical theories.
    You are thinking of grammar books used by learners of English.
    We are therefore largely talking at cross purposes.
     
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