This context comes from the book "Black Rednecks And White Liberals" by Thomas Sowell

Early Lebanese businesses in the United States were noted for "opening 16 to 18 hours daily," utilizing "the assistance of the whole family."During the earlier rise of Chinese shopkeepers in Southeast Asia, sixteen-to-eighteen hour days were also common"

The word "opening" is confusing to me as I know that "open" means:

c. To begin business or operation: The store opens early on Saturday.(source thefreedictionary)

...so if the Lebanese businesses were noted for "opening" for me this means they were noted only for the hour they began their operation and not for when they were closing, but the sentence states both. Why? Is it just sloppy English?

  • 1
    Why do you have a problem with the continuous participle here? It's no different to Early Lebanese businesses in the United States were noted for having long opening hours, or ...were noted for being open from very early in the morning until very late at night. The reference is to the state of being open, not the actual "event" of opening the shop. Aug 1, 2022 at 15:58
  • 1
    Well I written it in the post =P I don't know how to clarify it. The word "open" as far as I know, means "to begin" but the writer uses it as meaning "begin and end" Aug 1, 2022 at 16:01
  • 1
    The word "open" has a range of meanings - including as a noun, the state of being open as well the verb sense to begin. In your context, opening is simply alternative phrasing for being open. Aug 1, 2022 at 16:04
  • 2
    Maybe format grammatical terminology has some different way of describing the usage, but I don't know how that would help you understand what's going on here. All I'm saying is that in your specific context, opening is semantically and syntactically precisely equivalent to being open (the two forms are interchangeable, and mean exactly the same thing). Aug 1, 2022 at 16:11
  • 3
    @FumbleFingers. You've invested a lot of energy in this thread of comments. Please invest as much energy in a good answer that documents your position. Aug 1, 2022 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


This is either a slangy usage, a crude usage, or an ego gratifying usage (authors, you know?). The word opening does not mean the same thing as to be open. Your understanding and your research is valid. Despite the non-standard usage, only one meaning can be derived.

  • I would have to say that as a BrE speaker this use of opening seems perfectly normal but perhaps not so elsewhere.
    – mdewey
    Aug 15, 2022 at 13:44
  • @mdewey - It's understood but I just can't find enough usage to support it being normal in either British or American English. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – EllieK
    Aug 15, 2022 at 13:59
  • Just because it's idiomatic doesn't mean it makes sense. The wolf plied the evening rush.
    – EllieK
    23 hours ago

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .