I know I can say: My hobby is swimming. But when I'm told to tell which part of speech "swimming" is, I still doubt whether It's a noun or a verb. My guess is I put a noun after "hobby is".

This problem came from an English learner who asked me to correct their sentence in a forum. Their sentence is:

My hobby is my garden and my flower.

I know, there's something wrong, though, I'm not sure since I'm also a learner. We help each other to correct our mistakes. Although, I would write this way if I were they:

My hobby is gardening and making a flower bouquet.

But I can't explain why. Could you help me to explain which one is better to write? Also, even though I added the possessive "my" in the front of the base noun (I don't know what it's called), isn't it called a noun-phrase, thus still a noun? If my guess were correct, would it be OK to write like the first one?

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    I'd say they're two different (but possibly connected) pastimes, so My hobbies are gardening and flower arranging. Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 14:30
  • @FumbleFingers Ah thanks! I was looking for that phrase, flower arranging.
    – user516076
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 0:07
  • 1
    Many other multi-word collocations for hobbies (postage stamp collecting, church bell ringing, wicker basket weaving,...) have a more formal alternative single-word form (philately, campanology, osiery...). There is the term floristry, but it's not common (my browser has just underlined that word in red as a possible mistake! :). Opinions may differ, but to my mind floristry is more a reference to everything connected with buying, looking after, and selling flowers (by default, a "florist" is a trader / shopkeeper, not a hobbyist). Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


Swimming is a gerund used as a noun. There's nothing wrong with saying "My hobby is my garden", but referring to 'flower' in the singular is odd - obviously the gardener grows more than one!

They could have said "My hobby is my garden, especially growing flowers". (They may mean that they also cut the flowers to make bouquets, but not necessarily.)


I see this as a question of meaning, not grammar. You can say "My hobby is swimming.", "My hobby is tennis" or even "My hobby is my garden". All these make sense. A hobby is something that you enjoy doing, and in each case the complement implies an action: swim, play tennis, tend my garden.

But you can't say "My hobby is my flower". (singular flower) as there is no implied action. What do you suppose that he does with this one flower? What happens when the flower (inevitably fades). I suppose you could say "My hobby is my flowers" (implying caring for my flowers), but this is not as clear as in the acceptable hobbies.

So there is no grammar error, only the simple fact that a flower can't be a hobby.

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