I ran into this sentence yesterday and I am wondering whether or not I could change support to supporting.

In short, labor's support among the public is heavily concentrated among Democrats.

For me, support means encouragement from the public, while supporting focuses on the action of supporting, providing help rather than the help that they (the public) give. Therefore, supporting is not the right word to use in such a context. What do you think?

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    As I know, "supporting" is an adjective, and "support" here is a noun. So you cannot replace a noun with an adjective.
    – user33000
    Jun 11, 2016 at 7:48
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    @Sina supporting is also gerund and present participle. The OP asked about the difference between using gerund or noun. However, you are absolutely right that supporting is an adjective and usually used before nouns.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 11, 2016 at 8:04
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    @Cardinal you mean we can use a gerund or adjective after possessive 's', without a noun after it?
    – user33000
    Jun 11, 2016 at 8:19
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    @Ho Quang Trung I think, Languages have a very distinct difference with mathematics- you cannot master them by following generalized rules. Languages are replete with exceptions and collocations and these sorts of things. Personally, I think the only way to become an adapt in Languages is to try and to love !
    – Cardinal
    Jun 11, 2016 at 8:20
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    @Sina Although we can use a gerund after a possessive, I was mentioning the OP's intention. I like Sina's answering the question !
    – Cardinal
    Jun 11, 2016 at 8:24

1 Answer 1


You're right that you can't use supporting here, but the main reason is that in English, "<noun>'s supporting" only works when the noun is the subject of "support". So, these are all fine:

  • the public's support for him
  • his support among the public
  • the public's supporting him

but this is not:

  • *his supporting by the public

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