"Playing cards is not allowed here."

"The playing of cards is not allowed here."

Why do we need to use 'of' when 'the' is placed before gerund?

  • 1
    I'm not sure how to describe this issue in grammar/syntax terms, but I think it's to do with the fact that playing is a straightforward verb form in the first example (same as Using bad language is forbidden), whereas in the second example it's a (gerund) noun (compare The use of bad language is forbidden). But note that the isn't actually necessary in either my example or yours (and for reasons I can't put my finger on, I find your example #2 for less idiomatic than mine, with or without the article). Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 17:47
  • 1
    It's comparable to "The game of cards is not allowed here".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 19:43
  • I agree with FumbleFingers and BillJ. They've hit the nail on the head.
    – Nick
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


It seems that it goes like:

When you make a sentence with article “the” , it means you are specifying the kind of playing that you do. So you would need “of” to attach the action of playing with the kind.

  • The X of Y

  • the playing of cards isn’t allowed here.

  • Q- What kind of playing is not allowed here?

  • A-The playing of cards.

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