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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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  • Hello. This looks like homework. Please show your attempt and explain why you think you are correct. Then we can agree or disagree and explain. Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 11:27
  • @chasly-supportsMonica: Please check now.
    – asr09
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 12:05
  • No! The relevant nouns (gerunds eating and contesting) are NOT in the plural! Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 13:50
  • Does this answer your question? Following Tim's recommendations has/have not led to good outcomes Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 13:50
  • Non-finite clause subjects take singular agreement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 17:50

1 Answer 1

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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
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 17:50

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