This is an excerpt from a dialogue with a psychologist Elizabeth Brondolo, PhD in APA(Link is here; https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/stress-health):

"And I also really love working with the students, being able to generate new hypotheses and testing them out in the field."

What is the Subject of "being able to" and "testing them out" in this sentence?

Is the Subject "I" or "students"? How can you tell?

  • 1
    The "subject" is an implicit but unstated me - I really love [me] working with students, [me] being able to..., [me] testing them... Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 17:59
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    @FumbleFingers Isn't the subject an explicit and stated "I"? Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 18:32
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    There is no subject, because "being" and "testing" are not acting as verbs in these sentences. They are gerunds - a verb form in which the verb acts as a noun..
    – Adam
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 18:32
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    "I love things. The things I love are magic, dancing and tightrope walking." Here "dancing" and "tightrope walking" are being used as nouns, just like "magic."
    – Adam
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 18:37
  • @Adam: I disagree. To my mind, there must be an implied subject associated with the cited usage (even if it can be labelled a "gerund" form). If we drop the word completely (I love working with the students able to generate new hypotheses), we're obviously forced to interpret the (semantic) "subject" of the remaining highlighted element as students. Once we include it, the subject of that clause really has to be the speaker in order for it make sense, but syntactically, there's ambiguity (consider He likes watching girls in his underwear). Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


She is providing a list of things "I also really love". This could be phrased as "And I also really love working with the students; I really love being able to generate new hypotheses; I really love testing the new hypotheses out in the field."

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