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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 > noun, > > > I always saw the "is <gerund>" construction in English as a > "continuative tense", myself.
Exactly right. The formal term is "progressive tense" or "progressive aspect."
> >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 > > "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 verb: 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 jaspax@ "Skin and tragedy always attract a crowd." --Pedro the Lion