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I am an English language learner ,So please forgive me for some errors in expression.

I am confused about the noun meaning of "detail" and "detailing". These two words give me a very similar feeling when I search them in the dictionary. I don't know how to choose them. I considered whether I could think in terms of the present participle, but I couldn't find the answer.

e.g.

I want to learn more (detail or detailing) about (that event/person/design)

There are so many (detail or detailing) on an experience suit.

And so on.

I don't know how to choose between them.

I wish I can find the answer here. If I can find the answer here, I'd appreciate it very much.

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    in case nobody else answers, the only difference is "i am detailing my experiences" "i am giving you the detail of my experiences", detailing is much shorter. So detailing is a verb it is the act of giving details.
    – WendyG
    Commented May 7 at 9:14
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    There is so much detailing on that elaborate costume. Not "many". There are so many details in her story that do not make sense.
    – TimR
    Commented May 7 at 9:23
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    For learners, the short and sweet answer is never to use detailing as a noun. In current English, the only really valid use of the noun form is the full OED's sense 4.a for detail - A minute or subordinate part of a building, sculpture, or painting, as distinct from the larger portions or the general conception. And in nearly every case it would be better to use detail rather than detailing for that sense anyway. Personally, I think the -ing form there sounds a bit affected / pretentious. Commented May 7 at 11:25
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    detailing is also used as a verb in the field of customising vehicles. Usually the paintwork. "Joe did a great job detailing the artwork on the doors of my car." Commented May 7 at 12:28
  • @PeterJennings In AmE, detailing means cleaning a car thoroughly.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 7 at 13:16

1 Answer 1

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'Detail' can be a verb; 'detailing' is one form of it.

  • Tell me the story, detailing everything.
  • Tell me the story, detail everything.

'Detail' can also be a noun. It can be singular (detail) or plural (details). It is sometimes used in a non-countable way when the number of detail points is not known.

  • Tell me the story and give me all the details. (noun, plural)

Both of your examples require nouns, so the verb is not appropriate.

'Detailing' as a noun has a specific meaning and is not used in many contexts - it refers to small decorative parts around something such as clothing, art or a building.

So, you should use the noun detail in the appropriate form for your first example:

I want to learn more detail(s) about that.

Your second example is poorly written but I think as you are speaking about an item of clothing you might be able to use the noun 'detailing', but it is used uncountably so you wouldn't say "so many".

There is a lot of detailing on that suit.

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    "Detailing" can also be a noun. In such a case it refers to physical details, however, and would not be appropriate for the OP's first sentence referring to information. It would be appropriate for the second sentence (if rewritten somewhat), referring to physical details of an expensive suit - "An expensive suit may have lots of detailing". Commented May 7 at 16:48
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    @NuclearHoagie You're right, I didn't mention it because the second example is so badly written, using the word countably, I didn't recognise that it might fit the context. I've updated.
    – Astralbee
    Commented May 7 at 17:10

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