Please consider the following sentences:

It doesn't have any symptom of stay.
It doesn't have any symptom of staying.

The stay in the first sentence is a noun and staying in the second is a gerund. Which one to use and if both are OK, what is the difference between them please?

  • 2
    Neither are natural English statements, and I'm not sure quite what you want to express here. One possibility that comes to mind is It shows no sign of leaving (whatever "it" is, it's here, and doesn't seem like it's about to go anywhere). I can't imagine a context where anyone would actually say It shows no sign of staying, but syntactically that's perfectly ordinary. Something like It doesn't look as if it's going to stay might be better for that sense. Jul 10, 2017 at 13:41
  • I would have to agree with the person who commented above. If I had to choose between the two sentences I would pick the one that has staying in it, but neither sentence really makes sense.
    – Stacy
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


I've used Google's definitions of stay to provide the below.

Many words in English have different, but often related meanings depending on whether they are used as a verb or noun. The gerund will use the verb's meaning.

It doesn't have any symptom of a stay.

Stay as a noun means "period of staying somewhere" or "a curb or check (equivalent to stopgap or 'thing that blocks')."

It doesn't have any symptom of staying.

Gerunds represent an instance of an activity, typically in progress. Stay as a verb means "remaining in the same place, state, position", "living somewhere temporarily", or "stopping or delaying something."

You might be thinking that "a curb or check" for stay versus "stopping or delaying something" for staying mean the same thing. Here's an attempt to explain the difference:

  • a stay would be a thing or object that is preventing things from happening. Properties of things include who is using it, what it is, and attributes like color, etc.

  • while a staying would be an event where something was prevented from happening. Properties of events include time/duration/progress, place, action, and involved parties/things.

  • +1, So if we conclude that "stay" means: a period of staying somewhere, and "staying" means: remaining in the same place, we can say that both have the same meaning but with a subtle difference. Agree?
    – Abbasi
    Jul 13, 2017 at 17:11

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