I found an example of using "the" before the gerund:

During the crossing the passengers felt the ship toss

But according to the grammar, no article is used before the gerund. Or in this case the crossing isn't the gerund?

  • 2
    "The crossing" is a noun phrase as object complement of the preposition "during". What makes you think it's a gerund?
    – BillJ
    Feb 5, 2017 at 9:07
  • What are your sources to "the grammar" ? As other said, this is a noun, not a gerund. Feb 8, 2017 at 16:18
  • It’s the noun form of the verb “to cross”. I believe that makes it a gerund, even though it’s part of a noun phrase or prepositional phrase. Doesn’t it?
    – godel9
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:55
  • You’d still say “The crossing proved to be dangerous,” even though there are no prepositions involved in that sentence.
    – godel9
    Apr 3, 2018 at 13:56
  • A gerund is something that works like a verb with its words. For example "the crossing from A to B", here crossing works as a noun, compare with "the way from A to B". And "crossing the channel", here it governs as a verb, "to cross the channel". Note how you never can put a real noun in this phrase, e.g. "way the channel", makes no sense. Here crossing is a gerund.
    – beefeather
    May 19, 2019 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


Gerunds act like any other noun and can take the definite or indefinite article when referring to a specific instance of an activity:

a reading of my latest book

the singing coming from the church

The rule you’re citing is that the gerund does not take the definite article when referring to an activity in general, but this rule also applies in other cases where the noun isn’t a gerund:

I like swimming.

I like basketball.

I suspect this rule is taught because it’s explicitly different from many Romance languages, where the definite article is used to refer to general activities.

  • +1 I am surprised this answer hasn't got any upvotes.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 5, 2018 at 4:53

'Ing' structure can be used as a noun.

The smoking
The meeting
The coding

If you want more information, check this link


Here is an example from Cambridge Dictionary.

On page https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/tick you can see "the ticking" in the definition of verb "tick".

The ticking of the clock kept her awake.

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