In "Patients and doctors" (Kenneth Walker), it says

The great advantage of taking medicine is that it makes no demands on the taker beyond that of putting up for a moment with a disgusting taste, and that is what all patients demand of their doctors--to be cured at no inconvenience to themselves.

I think that "demand" in "demand of their doctors" is a verb, instead of a noun, am i right?

  • 2
    Yes, it's a verb with "all patients" as its subject.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 8:22
  • ...makes no demands on.... = (plural) NOUN. ...what patients demand... = VERB. Not quite the same as Do you want my help? (NOUN) and I will help you (VERB), because that noun usage can't be pluralised to helps. Commented May 27, 2022 at 11:41

2 Answers 2


You are right to say "demand" is a verb. In this case the subject is "all patients". If "demand" were to be a noun:

The demand for cars has been rising


...that is what all patients demand of their doctors...

I add to what @BillJ has rightly commented, that demand in OP's example is a verb.

To use the noun demands using OP's example, we need a few modifications.

As the verb would no longer be there in the what-clause, we need to add one, like are.

...that is what all patients' demands of their doctors are....

...that is what all patients' demands are of their doctors....

Please note that I have used the plural demands, as @FumbleFingers has rightly said, and the possessive patients'.

demands [ plural ] the difficult things that you have to do: The demands of nursing are too great for a lot of people. Cambridge Dictionary

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