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Check out these sentences:

"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just feeding the kid!" - correct but
"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just sleeping the kid!" - incorrect (it takes putting the kid to sleep).

We cannot simply count the number of verbs as they are many. But then how to decide what proper verb it takes when you are doing something for someone?

Check this more...

"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just readying the kid for the party!" or
"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just getting the kid ready for the party!"

Even more...

"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just bathing the kid!" or
"What are you doing, honey?" ~ "Nothing, just giving the kid a bath!"

So, the question:

There are many verbs and thus, how to decide which action takes which verb? For instance, in that sentence, it took feeding but there, sleeping does not work. Maybe, what J.R. says, it's about transitive/intransitive verbs.

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    I think this is a transitive/intransitive verb question. – J.R. Apr 14 '14 at 12:57
  • @J.R. but all are taking objects, aren't they? – Maulik V Apr 14 '14 at 12:59
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    Not really, sleeping is not. What is your question about the sentences above? – user5267 Apr 14 '14 at 13:11
  • @Jack Ah, I forgot to include. I deleted and rewrote this question and thus missed it as previously it was mentioned. Thanks for drawing my attention. – Maulik V Apr 14 '14 at 13:19
  • I'm puzzled. Have you considered looking the word or phrase up in a dictionary? In what respect is that insufficient? – StoneyB Apr 29 '14 at 22:51
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There are many verbs and thus, how to decide which action takes which verb?

Memorization, practice and application.

You simply just have to know the meanings of words and sentences. Adding -ing to words does not intrinsically make verbs transitive, nor in any particular way will it make verbs mean arbitrary things. (e.g. sleeping the kid)

You just have to remember things like "putting the kid to sleep" instead of "sleeping".

And just because a verb is transitive won't mean you can apply it to a person, at least not in every circumstance, either. (e.g. readying)

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There's no system here, I'm afraid. It's all by convention and, to the best of my knowledge, entirely idiosyncratic. Sorry.

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