The following is an excerpt from WSJ:

The world’s largest smartphone maker by shipments said it halted sales of its Galaxy Note 7 phone after customers reported their batteries exploding during charging.


I wonders how "their batteries exploding" is constructed. Would it be the same to say "their batteries explosion"? In English, sometimes it seems to use a "Verb -ing" form instead of a noun form.

Can anyone please explain?

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    Two words are elided from the phrase: customers reported that their batteries were exploding. In journalese, this kind of ellipsis is not uncommon. The reason that English seems to use a verb-ing form of a verb sometimes is that it is the noun form of the verb. This is the gerund. ("Their batteries explosion" is meaningless in English because there is no verb present.) – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Sep 8 '16 at 4:35
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    Thank you for including a link to your source (the WSJ). You also ask a very specific question, and ask about an alternative construction. All in all, this could be a model question for all learners to learn from. – Alan Carmack Sep 8 '16 at 4:50
  • I can't really add much to what @P.E.Dant has said in his comment. It's probably good enough to be a short answer. I am not 100% sure we have to say it is ellipsis, or whether it is just extremely helpful to consider it as ellipsis. – Alan Carmack Sep 8 '16 at 4:52
  • @AlanCarmack You are correct; I was going for helpful. Analyses of journalese are often rabbit holes, in my experience. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Sep 8 '16 at 4:59
  • @P.E.Dant : Why do you not post your comment as an Answer? It might be considered "short" but it addresses the question comprehensively. It is far more than a comment. – sammy gerbil Sep 8 '16 at 20:35

The complement of (transitive) reported is a nominal of some kind or a that-clause. The complement must answer to "reported what?" They reported "something".

Consumers reported

their lettuce wilting | that their lettuce wilted | the wilting of their lettuce

their batteries exploding | that their batteries exploded | the explosion of their batteries

having gas after eating beans | that they had gas after eating beans | their gas after eating beans

The noun-from-verb wilting|exploding doubles as a nominal and as a verb. It satisfies both the "reported what?" and the "did what?" question.

What did the lettuce do? It wilted.

What did the batteries do? They exploded.

The difference is finite/non-finite. Nominals are non-finite or a-finite.

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