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Hi friends

Sometimes I get confused to get the meaning of tow words where the first word is a verb with ing

for example when I say operating system : that means (system used to operate PC) : and also it means (to operate system)

so how can get the right meaning

other examples : cutting knife : it means ( knife used for cutting) and also ( to cut the knife )

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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When the "ing" word is a gerund (noun), it's usually a subject, and its object would have an article in front of it: "feeding the animals."

When it's only a present participle acting as an adjective, there's no article following it: "The blowing sand has eroded the face of the cliff." "Feeding animals should not be disturbed."

I think your examples show that you understand how it works - except we'd say, "to operate the / a system." "The automatic controller is operating the system right now."

Edit. Wow! I should have added that the present participle is also part of the present continuous tense, as in the example I just gave.

As a gerund, it would be, "Operating the system is a great pleasure, now that all the bugs have been removed."

Edit Edit. Hmmm, when the object of the verb(al) is a plural (indefinite) noun, there may not be an article. So how can we tell??
"Adding machines to the inventory, we now have over a hundred items."

"Blowing leaves is a boring way to make a living."
I'll tell you: I don't know!

I'm thinking of more and more cases where there would be no article, eg., with uncountable nouns. Perhaps someone has a better way of telling them apart. Emotion: embarrassed
Thanks alot friend

but look at this example and give me the exact meaning ( drinking water )

does it mean ( to drink water ) or ( water used for drinking ) ?
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It can mean either. You have to look at the whole sentence.

Pleasing women was his life.
Pleasing women were his life.

Can you figure which is which? (adjective or gerund)
Azooz79Sometimes I get confused to get the meaning of tow words where the first word is a verb with ing

for example when I say operating system : that means (system used to operate PC) : and also it means (to operate system)

so how can get the right meaning
Just two isolated words are not going to give you much of the meaning. You have to see how the words are used in the entire sentence. This is true for all words, not just words that end in -ing.

operating system, by itself, means several different things, if you make some guesses about all the different ways it can be used in a sentence. The use of other words can help you to know what the meaning is.

Operating this system can be difficult. ~ It can be difficult to operate this system.
The operating system is not working. ~ The system that operates this computer is not working.
________

Look at these examples using drinking water:

Peter is drinking water. ~ Peter is performing an action. He takes water in his mouth and swallows it. [Peter || is drinking | water.]

The liquid in this glass is drinking water. ~ The liquid in this glass is water that you can drink. [The liquid in this glass || is || drinking-water.]
_______

A person can drink water. An object cannot drink water. A substance cannot drink water. You know this from your experiences of life. It is not the grammar of the sentence that tells you this. Therefore, you know that it is not correct to believe these:

Peter is drinking water means that (the person) Peter is water that you can drink. Symbolically, [Peter || is || drinking-water.] is wrong!

The liquid in this glass is drinking water means that the liquid is performing an action. The liquid takes water in its mouth and swallows it. Symbolically, [The liquid in this glass || is drinking | water.] is wrong!

It is your knowledge of the world that tells you how to interpret the words drinking water. Sometimes the grammar of the sentence doesn't help.
___________

Here's another use of drinking water:

Drinking water too quickly can cause an upset stomach. ~ If a person drinks water too quickly, he may get an upset stomach.
[ [(someone) || drinking | water | too quickly] can cause | [(the person) || (to get) | an upset stomach.] ]

Only an action can be done too quickly, so we know from this context that we are not talking about the substance "water that you can drink". It would make no sense for water to be "too quickly". You can't say, "The water is too quickly". It has no meaning. So we know that in this sentence drinking water means the action: Someone takes water in his mouth and swallows it.
___________

Only context can tell you the meaning.

CJ
thanks alot , I got it not
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Hey, that rhymes!