Sometimes my friends say something that really confuses me.

Here cleaning is used more like a noun(because has an article , "a cleaning") some people call them deverbal nouns.

But I'm just confused about the meaning, because doing something sometimes has different meanings.

eg: I need their arrival(because if they come, they will give me some chance to make money, here has no passive voice meaning)

I need some cleaning here.(the manager pointed to a dirty table). Does this one make sense? or just means I need to be cleaned.

I have looked up some information and I think if the gerund functions as nouns, they have the same meanings when they are verbal.

In this way, if some words can used as nouns in the structure (I'm not sure if there is) "try doing something", it still means they just tried doing these things. Am I right?

I know some gerunds can be used as nouns…But if they are nouns…what is the difference?

  • You demonstrate a good understanding of the gerund when you write if the gerund functions as nouns, they have the same meanings when they are verbal. (There are a few errors there, but they are grammatical and not conceptual.) We would not say, though, I need their arrival. It's grammatical, but not a natural usage. We would say I need them to arrive. When the manager says I need some cleaning here! he is using the gerund in a natural way to emphasize the action of the verb. Aug 26, 2016 at 22:09
  • Thanks so much for your help! But normally need doing something =need to be done. e.g the flowers need watering. But if you say you need swimming, it will be strange right?
    – moyeea
    Aug 26, 2016 at 23:16
  • I need their arrival to be on time is natural. Aug 26, 2016 at 23:38
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Is "Your cooking made me happy" acceptable? Aug 26, 2016 at 23:41
  • @moyeea Yes, I need swimming is not natural. We would say I need to go swimming. The first person usage I +need/want +verbing where I is the receipient of the action in verbing is seldom seen. That makes this question more interesting; I don't think I've seen exactly that point addressed here. If you can edit your question to add that point, it might garner an upvote or two. Aug 26, 2016 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


"cleaning" is a gerund

  • Cleaning - the activity of removing the dirt from things and places, especially in a house

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