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The sounds I hate the most are the clattering of dishes, the roaring of cars, and the drilling on construction sites.

The sounds I hate the most are the clatter of dishes, the roar of cars, and the drill on construction sites.

Which of the alternatives about is correct? How do I know whether to use -ing in examples like this?

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    I think a lot of your ELU questions would probably have been better suited for ELL, but this is one case where I think it might have been better to go the other way around, and put this on ELU. I think you can use either one, but your second question is a true poser.
    – J.R.
    Dec 24 '14 at 12:45
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I believe the latter is correct.

The sounds I hate the most are the clatter of dishes, the roar of cars, and the drill on construction sites.

is correct because, "The sounds I hate" refers to the different things being hated (in noun form). Here the first sentence contains the verb form.

Nobody hates the roaring of cars. It is the sound coming out that is being hated, not the action of roaring.

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  • Nobody hates the roaring of cars. It is the sound coming out that is being hated, not the action of roaring. This is not good advice for the learner. "The roaring of cars" can indeed refer to the sound of the cars. You are interpreting the words too literally. "The meals were heralded in by a crescendo of sound, the barking of dogs, the yelling of children, and the breezy clatter of maids, culminating in a vigorous banging on gongs..." (Stacy Aumonier).
    – J.R.
    Dec 24 '14 at 12:38

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