Re: Settle a Bet
|From:||Jesse Bangs <jaspax@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 27, 2002, 5:55|
> >A couple of people said something like this, and I feel like I should
> >contradict. From a hyper-traditional grammar this may be true--nouns
> >don't have transitivity, so neither does a gerund like "eating." But
> >that's absurd--"eating" in "She is eating" doesn't function like a
> I always saw the "is <gerund>" construction in English as a
> "continuative tense", myself.
Exactly right. The formal term is "progressive tense" or "progressive
> >I argue that even in a sentence like "Eating makes me fat," the word
> >"eating" is a verb. That's because you can freely add an object:
> "Eating makes me fat." == "The act of eating makes me fat." "Eating"
> is the name of a specific type of activity. "Eating X makes me fat."
> may very well be a different grammatical form, even if the
> orthographic and spoken forms might be identical. They certainly
> fulfill different functions.
If "eating" is the name of a specific type of activity, then surely
"eating ice cream" is also a kind of activity. I don't see any semantic
difference, other than that inherent in the difference between transitive
and intransitive uses of the verb. Further evidence that "eating" is a
Negation: "No food makes me hungry" vs. "Not eating makes me hungry";
"Not eating ice cream makes me hungry"
Articles: "This food is great" vs ?* "This eating is great"; * "This
eating ice cream is great"
Tenses: "Having eaten ice cream is great,"
Jesse S. Bangs Pelíran
"Skin and tragedy always attract a crowd."
--Pedro the Lion