This post is derived from a meta post (“review close votes” sounds grammatically incorrect), where an answerer considers "swimming" as a verb.

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I'm afraid I cannot agree with that. So, I said there

"Swimming" is a gerund, not a verb. A gerund could be used as an adjective, a verb cannot.

Is my understanding right? Is that the way the compound noun "swimming pool" constructed, gerund + noun = compound noun?

  • @Fermichem I agree with you, a gerund should be treated as a noun. I misunderstood that until you saved me. Thank you. So, the pattern of the construction is participle + noun = compound noun, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:44
  • I'd say participle + noun = noun phrase. since you need: noun + noun = compound noun and clearly participles are not nouns they function as adjectives or adverbs
    – Fermichem
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:47
  • @Fermichem Hold on. Things get weird. If "swimming" is treated as a gerund, which functions as a noun, then "swimming pool" fits the pattern noun + noun = compound noun, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:55
  • check out the answer, I hope it serves to clarify the confusion.
    – Fermichem
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 0:04

1 Answer 1


Let's take an in-depth look at gerunds, present participles and the difference between them:

Gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns

Present participles do not act as nouns. Instead, they act as modifiers or complete progressive verbs.

Thus, gerunds will be subjects, subject complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions. Present participles, on the other hand, are complete progressive verbs(for example in present continuous, "he's swimming" or act as modifiers (as in, swimming pool).

ref: https://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/nouns/gerunds/

ref: https://www.chompchomp.com/terms/gerund.htm

So, I guess we can agree that "swimming" in "swimming pool" modifies the noun "pool", I.E. it's a modifier and since gerunds can't be modifiers, "swimming" has to be a present participle (by process of elimination!)

  • It can't be a Noun adjunct?
    – Edward
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 0:19
  • Unless the pool itself is doing the swimming, I don't see how the participle interpretation can possibly make more sense than the gerund interpretation.
    – Edward
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 0:21

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