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To my knowledge, when native speakers are using gerunds as a noun, they would prefer words that end with "-ment" rather than those that end with "ing." Is it just a personal preference, or a grammatical phenomenon?

Specifically, can the suffix "-ing" add some subtle meanings to a word in English?

There are two different ways to change a verb into a noun. The first way is to suffix "-ment", while the second way is to suffix "-ing" and make it a gerund. As those two ways are both grammatically correct, what are the differences between the meanings of the words yielded by these two approaches?

  • Compare "bling" and "blment". I've never heard anyone use the word "blment". Or strment. Or the famous US Sment Sment prison. – gnasher729 Nov 28 '15 at 10:52
  • Maybe, as you mentioned, it's improper to say native speakers prefer words in -ing form. But, to clarify, I meant I don't understand what are the differences between words that in -ing form and in -ment form. According to my experience, it's correct to use words in ing form in some cases but is wrong in others. – Yummy Sushi Nov 28 '15 at 10:58
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    @Rathony I'm asking for a rule of thumb, if any. – Yummy Sushi Nov 28 '15 at 11:03
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    I don't think this should be closed as opinion-based. I think we could say something about the difference between the gerund and nouns ending in -ment, even if the answer is "it's a matter of personal preference." – ColleenV Nov 28 '15 at 13:37
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    @yummysushi Please post a couple examples you would like the willing and eager answerers to comment on. I can not think of any examples which fit your description of "-ing" or "-ment" being interchangeable. For example: "It is exciting", not "it is excitement", and usage between "-ing" and "-ment" tends to be mutually exclusive depending on context (a la @Ranthony)... – Peter Nov 28 '15 at 14:39
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This may just be my brain having a short holiday, but having come up short on gerunds that end in "-ment" (see what I did there?) I suspect that it is a grammatical phenomewnon.

The Cambridge English dictionary has gerund as

"a word ​ending in "-ing" that is made from a ​verb and used like a ​noun."

So it seems they agree with me.

Reading the comments, I think I see the issue. Improvement is a noun with the same etymological root as "to improve". But crucially, it is a noun. It is not a gerund.

A gerund is a verb participle acting as a noun. It is not, however, actually a noun.

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