1

In this sentence:

They're going gorilla watching.

what's the function of the verb watching?

Is it a verb? a noun? ... maybe gorilla watching means "mirador de gorilas", in spanish?

In English, I have not seen a verb at the end of a sentece.

4

They are going gorilla watching.

The key verb here is are, it forms the Present Progressive tense together with the present participle going.

The word watching it not really a full-fledged verb but a gerund: it functions as a noun. It is used here to describe the activity of "watching gorillas".

We use the go + ..ing structure to describe activities in which people are free to move about and which have no fixed beginning or end:

  • "Let's go skating today!" (let us go to the skating rink and skate some time there: the proposed activity is skating)
  • "No, let's go watching gorillas today!" (let us go to the zoo and watch the gorillas there for some time: the proposed activity is watching)
  • "Oh, I didn't know you liked gorilla watching!" (I didn't know you liked this activity: gorilla watching)

The word gorilla is used as an adjective to describe the noun word watching.

I like trainspotting. (I like to spot trains)
I like birdwatching! (I like to watch birds)
I like gorilla watching. (I like to watch gorillas)

When a noun like "gorilla" is used in the adjective sense, it is called "noun adjunct".

Gorilla watching is not a very popular pastime: if more people start spending their free time watching gorillas, the two words might fuse into "gorillawatching", like "birdwatching".


Reference: Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, Unit 228 (on "go + ..ing"), Units 293-300 (on participles and gerunds).

2

"They are going gorilla watching". The function of "watching" in the sentence is that it has been used as a gerund (-ing form of the verb that is used as a noun).

We use a gerund after the verb "go" for some specific activities, especially recreational, that are done out of doors, for example, go shopping, fishing, sightseeing, fishing, jogging, skiing, gorilla watching, etc.

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