I have the following sentence.

In the reconstruction, setting a stable parameter matching with entire scene is hard to achieve.

According to my understanding, the subject is 'setting a stable parameter'. Do you think it is possible to use a phrase as a subject instead of one single word? Is my sentence correct?

  • It's hard to tell, but I suspect you mean 'scenario' instead of 'scene.' A scene is a place, a scenario is a (real or imagined) situation or set of circumstances. – Merk Sep 30 '13 at 8:03
  • It's possibly referring to a "scene" in video game making; for instance, flash uses that term, I believe, in which case, a "scene" is a single game screen. – Ghosty Oct 1 '13 at 0:57

Yes, absolutely!

There are a couple minor mistakes you have made other than that, though.

For instance, I would write "In the reconstruction, setting a stable parameter that matches the entire scene is hard to achieve." or "an entire scene".

Also, you mean "understanding" and not "undemanding".

You have the right idea!


I believe this is how The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language suggests we analyze your sentence:

The subject is a non-finite subordinate clause, setting a stable parameter matching with entire scene. It's marked as subordinate by having no overt subject and by having the verb in gerund-participle form (-ing form), which is a non-finite form. Gerund-participial clauses commonly function as subjects.

(CGEL doesn't distinguish between the gerund and participle uses of the -ing form. More traditionally, we could say this is the gerund form of the verb; gerund is a term from traditional grammar that refers to the form of a verb that can appear where a noun is expected.)

You can't generalize that "phrases can be subjects". It's true that some phrases can. But we can see that it's not always true; for example, preposition phrases are generally not able to function as subjects.

The subject of your sentence is fine. However, entire scene needs an article: I'd write the entire scene.

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