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”OK, I'll tell you the story,” he inhaled deeply, as if his tale would take all of his energy. “It started ...”

So the full version would be something like:

”OK, I'll tell you the story,” he inhaled deeply, as if telling his tale would take all of his energy. “It started ...”

Is it still understandable/grammatical if I omit the verb in this case?

  • OK, he sighed, before jumping into the water, as though the swim across the pool was going to take all of his energy. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 19 '14 at 13:50
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    "Telling" is not a verb but a quasi-noun, a gerund. The subject of the verb "would take" must be some kind of noun phrase, or a clause that acts as the noun phrase, e.g. That he had seen the movie twice already made him reluctant to sit through it yet again. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 19 '14 at 13:56
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Yes, the first is understandable. However, the verb of the sentence is "take", not "telling" because "his tale" is the subject. "His tale" is what would take his energy.

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