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Searching the internet to know whether it's grammatically correct to use "boast" with a gerund as its direct object, I just came across this sentence in a book

For one thing, not many towns can boast having a volcano in their backyard. SOURCE

I've googled the writer's name and found out that she is an English native speaker and It doesn't seem like she made a mistake, because I found some sentences in which "boast" is used in the same way as well by other English writers.

So, my question is...

Is it really grammatically correct to use "boast" in that way? Should there be added a preposition such as "of or about"?

I'd think "boast" or "boast of or about" are all correct to use there but the meanings are totally different like

  1. For one thing, not many towns can boast having a volcano in their backyard

"having a volcano in their backyard" can represents, as a whole, the symbol of not many towns' pride.

  1. For one thing, not many towns can boast of or about having a volcano in their backyard

"having a volcano in their backyard" can be talked of or about proudly by not many towns.

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Boast in that case is a simple transitive verb that acts directly on an object.

boast v.tr.
2. To have or possess (a desirable feature): a mall that boasts 80 shops.
TFD Online

So yes, it's grammatically correct. Moreover, it's extremely common, especially in journalism, to use it this way.

  • So, is there no difference between "boast" and "boast of or about" in the context? – Zenith May 23 '19 at 19:49
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    No, there is a difference. In this case it means "have or possess" as the dictionary definition states. – Robusto May 23 '19 at 21:36

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