I wonder it's clear to natives whether providing is a conjunction or a adjective verb. How about this one?

The Giants aren't the first sports team to dabble in providing fans with wireless Internet service or Web access at their seats. (San Francisco Chronicle, 2004)

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    Yes, it would be quite clear to native speakers what "part of speech" providing is here. Even if they don't know the terminology (it's actually a gerund here), they know that people (and sports teams) dabble in activities, which are nouns. And here, the gerund is the noun. Is there an actual question? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 9 '14 at 21:24
  • I think you don't know that this place is for English "learners". – karlalou Dec 1 '16 at 21:06
  • You asked whether it's clear to natives what terminology applies here. I simply pointed out that even though most native speakers wouldn't know the specific term "gerund" (or "noun", in some cases), they'd recognise that the same basic concept / lexical class applies to both I like fish (a thing/substance you can eat) and I like fishing (a thing / activity you can carry out). And it should be fairly obvious to anyone, learner or not, that I like providing answers to ELL questions is the same basic construction as the latter. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 2 '16 at 13:34
  • You said "Is there an actual question? " and I replied to this. – karlalou Dec 5 '16 at 23:09

It is neither. What it is depends on what grammatical sect you follow.

Note that providing follows in. The object of a preposition must be an NP, an nominal entity.

Consequently, traditional grammar takes providing to be the object of in and calls it a gerund, an -ing form acting as a noun.

Contemporary phrase-structure grammars take the entire non-finite clause which providing heads to be the object of in and call the word itself the predicator, a very highfalutin way of naming the function enacted by a verb.


It's neither; it's a gerund (colloquially, an "-ing word"), a form of a verb (in this case "provide") used as a noun. Here it's part of the noun phrase "providing fans with wireless Internet service or Web access at their seats," the activity in which the Giants are dabbling.

Verbs conjugated with "-ing" can also be used as adjectives (they're called "gerundives" when used like this), as in "caring parents" or "loving wife", but using "providing" in this way doesn't sound right to my ear, and it's definitely not what's happening in the example you gave.

As a side note, "provided" can be used as a conjunction; it's a synonym for "if":

You can go to the party, provided you're home by 12.

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    +1 But an -ing form deployed as an adjective is usually called a present participle. Gerundive is deprecated these days, since it denotes a Latin future passive participle which has very little in common with English present participles. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 10 '14 at 12:01

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