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Eating sweets __________ (is/ are ) tough.

Contesting elections ______ ( is / are ) tough .

[ Which one is the subject Eating/ Contesting or sweets / elections ?]

According to Cambridge Grammar of English [ by Carter or Mccarthy ] Gerund : A word derived from a verb which ends in ing is used as a noun. Smoking is hazardous to health.

My Answer

Eating sweets is tough.

Contesting elections is tough.

But the nouns are in plural form ???????????

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Eating sweets is tough.

Contesting elections is tough.

Your answers are correct (although eating sweets is not usually described as tough!)

Consider this sentence:

Eating is tough if you have no teeth.

It is clear that "eating" is the subject and that it is singular. If we add to this, e.g.

Eating nuts is tough if you have no teeth.

then the subject doesn't change - it is still "eating."

What about, "Nuts are tough"?

Well, it may be true that nuts are tough but that is a complete sentence. We can't easily add "Eating"

Eating: Nuts are tough (????????)

Does that help?

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  • The point is that non-finite clause subjects take singular agreement. – BillJ Jan 11 at 17:50

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