Drinking tea is good for health. What is the function and name of the part of speech tea in the sentence given below.

Drinking tea is good for health.

Some grammarians say that tea is the object of the gerund Drinking. I think Drinking tea is the subject collectively.

  • ...but "drinking tea" would be an unusual noun phrase (as the subject), because AFAIK there is no other kind of tea. Consider a slightly different sentence: "Brushing teeth is good for health." Would you say the same? You can't go into a shop and ask for some 'brushing teeth'. May 20 '20 at 15:24
  • @ weather vane.Your comment has not clarified my question. Drining tea is good but spirit is bad for healt. What is the function of tea and spirit in the sentence? May 20 '20 at 15:37
  • 1
    My point is that 'drinking' and 'brushing' are gerunds, not adjectives. And if they are gerunds, then 'tea' and 'teeth' are the objects of the gerunds. May 20 '20 at 15:40
  • That is what I want. They are the objects of the gerunds. May 20 '20 at 15:41
  • 1
    They are both right. 'Drinking tea' is the subject of the verb. 'Tea' is the object of the gerund. May 20 '20 at 16:51

There are (at least) two valid ways to parse this, but the context eliminates all but one.


[Drinking(adjective) tea(noun)](subject) is(verb) [good for health](complement)

Here the phrase drinking tea is adjective-noun structure

[Drinking(gerund) tea(noun,object of drinking)](subject) is(verb) etc.

However while "Drinking chocolate" is idiomatic, "Drinking tea" is not an idiomatic phrase and so is rejected. Therefore the "gerund" parsing is correct, and "tea" is the object of drinking.

Computers would have trouble with this, and, indeed https://www.link.cs.cmu.edu/link/submit-sentence-4.html finds both alternatives but incorrectly finds that the adjective-noun structure is more likely (generally adjectives are more common than gerunds in English, and the parser doesn't have access to a database of collocations that could avoid this error.

  • @ James.K. An excellent answer from a grear scholar from a native English speaking country.I have not only accepted but also upvoted the answer. May 21 '20 at 3:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.