The word "a lining" has got nothing to do with drawn lines (it's something about fur and fabrics apparently...). There is also no verb "to line" that means "the act of drawing a line".

But there does exist the verb "to underline" which means "the act of drawing a line under words in a text". What is the corresponding noun? Is "an underlining" correct? As in:

When I underline important words I make a nice underlining.

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    The example is always going to be a bit "awkward", whether you use the relatively uncommon simple noun underline or the gerund noun underlining. Both are syntactically valid, but I think most people would rather avoid the awkwardness by switching to something like ...I do it nicely. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 12 '19 at 14:46
  • I agree with the answer in the previous comment- "I do it nicely" sounds much more natural. – Mixolydian Feb 12 '19 at 14:48
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    When I underline words, I underline nicely. My underlining is nice. Underline can also mean emphasize. – Lambie Feb 12 '19 at 14:49
  • Assuming the intended meaning of "nice" here is "neat, straight", you could even get away with When I underline important words I make it straight. Strictly speaking that's syntactically "defective", in that it has no preceding noun to refer back to, but it would naturally be understood as representing the product / outcome / result of the aforementioned act of underlining. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 12 '19 at 14:53

The gerund of to underline is underlining. This is the noun that refers to the action.

You can also use underline as a noun in itself, to refer to the line itself that appears under the text. So, it depends on which sense you want for the noun.

In underlining the text, she was careful to make the underline straight.

However, in many cases people will just use the word line. You only need to say underline as a noun in these cases where you need to be clear that you are talking about the line under the text.

So, in your example, you want either line or underline. Line would be more natural to me. Using the gerund there is not completely unheard of, but would be unusual and seem wrong to many native speakers.


"underline" could be used as a noun in your case:

See definition 4 under "noun" here - "a line drawn under something; an underscore.": https://www.dictionary.com/browse/underline

But "underlining," as @FumbleFingers points out, can also be used as a noun. I would prefer "underline" in your sentence but "underlining" could also work.

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    From T.S. Eliot and the Poetics of Evolution: Eliot's enthusiastic acceptance of this idea is suggested by his underlining of the phrase and by his marginal comment, "grand". It's possible to use underline as a noun in other contexts, but I'd say the example I've cited is essentially a "gerund noun" rather than a "continuous verb form". In my example, underline simply doesn't work at all, but either form is possible in OP's cited context. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 12 '19 at 14:42
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    Agree - didn't think of that - updated my response. – Mixolydian Feb 12 '19 at 14:45

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