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Hi,

I think it has been noted in this forum that a genitive (I think it means a noun that has or is from a verbal root) can be (made it to be) a countable noun, possibly like this "a barking of a dog need not be heeded." Here, a barking can be said to be an instance of barking.

1. Why has the person who supposely has written the sentence "a barking of a dog need not be heeded" didn't write it as "A dog bark need not be heeded" or "A dog's barking need not be heeded" eventhough the last one is similar to the first and original one?

2. Why don't I see instances where the plural word "barkings" is used when "barking" can be used as a countable noun? Should I judge its relative acceptance and relative level of usage based on how many times and how frequently I encounter the word in my daily communicative situations (that is in written form as well as in verbal form?)

3, It is my presumption that not all genitives can be readily accepted as a noun, nor its plural form welcomed wholeheartly by some quarters of grammar (linguistic??) academians, but like a fad it can be accepted and be in fashion, so to speak, in due time or as the circumstances allow (like when many people start to use routinely); thus, it should be used circumspectively, being aware of the fact that the act of using a genitive isn't done often. Do you agree or is the logical base of my assumption shaky?

4. In the case of the "reading" in a phrase "a reading", should we resort to looking at the content of the (whole?) writing to determine whether it is being used as "an instance of reading" (that is the act or activity of reading) or a reading, which normally means "an event of reading in front of an audience"?

Note: I am trying to invite more confusion into the matter but to satisfy my curiosity on the matter.

I think this kind of thing can be said to apply similarly to the content in quotation marks. Can it also apply to a parenthetical content? If it can be applied to a parenthetical content, as well as a forementioned content in quotation marks and a genitive, then can you tell me how it can be done for the parenthetical content (I think when you say "a perenthetical content", you are making a reference to some content in parentheses like what I am using to write this parenthetical content)?
Comments  
The phrase is incorrect. It should be either:

"A barking dog need not be heeded" or
"The barking of a dog need not be heeded".

Barking can not be made plural. "Barkings" is not an English word. (Like "informations" is also not English).

Your alternative phrases are perfectly acceptable. In fact I find them preferable to the original. Bear in mind that even well-published authors can be guilty of writing poor prose. It might be widely accepted but that doesn't make it right.

Note that the word "heeded" sounds rather old fashioned and is seldom used in everyday speech. We would use "pay attention" or, better, make the sentence negative and use "ignored".
Thank you, Eimai_Anglos.

Are you saying a genitive cannot be made a countable noun or used as a countable noun? I think a guru has delivered expert advice on that aspect of grammar and I think it has been said a construction like "a shaking of a ground" means "an instance of shaking of a ground." Please note that it is a shaking in what seems to be a countable noun form.

Can you give me your expertise in this matter?

1. Why can some genitives have the indefinite article "a" like the genitive noun word "shaking"?

2. At the same time, why don't I never seem to have encountered a plural form of the word "shaking" as "shakings"?

3. Here, "with shouting, yelling and swearing, the motorists ...," would you say the phrase "with shouting, yelling and swearing" is correctly written? If it is correctly written, then what kind of noun are they? My dictionary seems to note that "shouting" is a countable noun but for the two others, I am not sure.

Thank you.
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Before this thread goes on too long, I wanted to point out that a noun ending in -ing, that comes from a verb, is a "gerund," not a "genitive."
I was about to point out the same thing.

According to some grammarians, there are no genitives in English. According to others they are the same as possessives. According to others they are only possessives formed with apostrophes.

my, your, our
Mary's, the students', a friend's


A gerund or present participle is very different:

playing, resting, reading, seeing, barking

Gerunds and present participles are indistinguisable in form. If used as a noun, they are gerunds; if as an adjective, present participles.

CJ
Thank you, CalifJim, Khoff and Eimai_Anglos.

I think I made a mistake -- yes, it should be a "gerund" and not "genitive."

I did some reseach on my own and I think I have gotten the following Google search results:

"a cutting of" 29,200 hits

"a shaking of" 29,700 hits

"a mixing of" 275,500 hits

All seemed to fit somewhat very well with the notion of an instance of cutting, shaking and mixing (as taught us to) by CalifJim, I think).

As to the original phrase, I think the following results were the product of a Google search:

"a barking of" 1,540 hits -- some entries dealt with a myth or a folklore.

"barkings of" 15,000 hits -- the entries here seemed to be from somewhat solid sources where the quality of writing leaves little doubt as to their acceptability, in my opinion, and these many entries from seemingly "quality" sources cast some doubt as to the credibility of what I believe to be Eimai_Anglos' assertion that the word "barkings" is not a correct English word (I think that is what he said).

Here, I am trying my best to get a grasp of what seems to be an important thing to know. Can you help? Can a gerund function as a countable noun? If so, can you show me how it is done in simple terms?

Thank you, all.
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BelieverCan a gerund function as a countable noun? If so, can you show me how it is done in simple terms?
Hi Believer

Of course a gerund can form a plural: his comings and goings.
As you see, the plural is formed by adding an s to the word. Some grammarians distinguish between a gerund and a verbal noun; 'verbal' here meaning 'formed from a verb'.

Examples:
Gerund: Speaking English correctly is easy.
Verbal noun: The correct speaking of English is easy.

Note that a verbal noun is a complete substantive and therefore can take an article and an adjectival attribute. A gerund is a hybrid between a noun and a verb as it has some properties of each. If it were a complete noun, the following sentence would be correct:

Correct speaking English is easy.
There isn't a single noun in English that can't have an adjectival attribute. Speaking in the above example can't be modified by correct and consequently speaking is not a noun in this sentence.

As gerunds are not complete nouns, there are restrictions on their plural usage. You can't put an s after every gerund, usage is often idiomatic. Pay attention to such forms as you read English texts and you'll learn to use them.

Cheers
CB
Thank you, Cool Breeze for laying a foundation for further research or study as the case might be.