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I found an Arabic sentence in a text about corporate social responsibility and I translated it as:

Shouldering corporate social responsibility results in increasing profits and eliminating disputes between companies and employees

I know that v-ing can behave as either a noun or and adjective, but since profits and disputes are the head nouns these v-ing forms can only be adjectives which would make no sense at all in english.

On the other hand a sentence like: "watching TV is fun!" makes perfect sense.

I ended up saying "more profits and less disputes" just to be safe.

I also have another question regarding this matter: what is the function of the v-ing and the following noun phrase in this sentence: "resulted in increasing the profits". Is it any different from not using "the" in the previous sentence?

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  • "Increasing profits" is a noun phrase headed by the noun "profits", which is modified by the verb "Increasing". "Eliminating" is also a verb, but it doesn't modify "disputes"; rather, "eliminating disputes ... " is a clause in which the verb "eliminating" has "disputes between companies and employees" as its object..
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 6:33

2 Answers 2

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In "increasing profits", the -ing could be either an adjective or a verb. It could mean shouldering... results in something increasing profits (verb meaning), or it could mean shouldering... results in profits which are increasing (adjective meaning). It's possible for the -ing forms to be verbs in a context like this if the verb takes a direct object. In this case, "increase" is transitive, which means it can take a direct object.

In "eliminating profits", however, the -ing can only be a verb because "eliminating" is never an adjective, just a verb, so we now know that both "increasing" and "eliminating" are verbs, and "profits" and "disputes" are their direct objects.

It's poor writing style if you have to read past a point to understand what grammar is intended, so I'd reorder it to:

...results in [eliminating disputes] and [increasing profits]...

or introduce a subject:

... results in [companies] increasing their profits and eliminating disputes...

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The use of "increasing profits" is correct.

Instead of thinking in terms of "nouns" or "adjectives", remember that -ing forms are verbs. And verbs may have direct objects.

So in the expression "increasing profits", the relationship between the words is verb-object, not "adjective-noun", and the headword is the verb.

This forms a participle-gerund clause, which is coordinated with "eliminating disputes.... employees" by the word "and". The whole expression "increasing ... employees" is the object of the phrasal verb "results in".

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  • You might also say that "increasing profits" is an NP, with "profits" as head and the verb "Increasing" as its modifier. Some verbs can modify nouns.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 6:47
  • I suppose so, the lack of a determiner introduces a syntactic ambiguity. "Increasing the profits" places the phrase "the profits" as a object of "increasing"... Where as "the increasing profits" has the verb as a modifier. Although I can see a syntactic ambiguity, I don't see any semantic ambiguity.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 19:16

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