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When you describe the action, which ones are used, and what does the other pair's usage and meaning (a + verb), if they are unfit?

    1. This is a walk.
    2. This is walking.
    1. This is a buy.
    2. This is buying.
    1. This is a sleep.
    2. This is sleeping.
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    "Walk" in number 1 is a noun, not a verb. So is "buy" in number 2. "Sleep" in number 3 is an uncountable noun, so it can't take "a" as the article. Please learn what a gerund is here! Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 5:44

1 Answer 1

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This is walking.
This is buying.
This is sleeping.

There are few contexts I can think of where using these sentences would be appropriate. The two that I can think of are:

  • Something said as part of a demonstration or example. Perhaps you are explaining a word to a non-English speaker. You walk, and tell them that "this is (called) walking."

  • Something said to emphasize that "this" is a particularly good example of "-ing." A common example of the phrase being, "(now) this is living," which means that the speaker considers their current lifestyle to be a good one, and probably one they wouldn't change.


This is a walk.
This is a buy.
This is a sleep.

As @P.E.Dant said, these are all nouns (not verbs), and #3 is incorrect. Generally, sleep is an uncountable noun, although it can be countable in certain contexts. For example:

There are two sleeps until Christmas.
Meaning: There are two nights left until Christmas day.

I can only imagine this is a walk being said in the context of a sponsored walk, when somebody asks what you are doing: "This is a walk (to raise money for charity)."

This is a buy is slightly more applicable. It's quite common to describe a low price for a product as a good buy. The term is also used for drug deals, as in "it's a (drug) buy".


I'm not certain that I've completely understood your question, but I will try to answer it.

If you are trying to describe what you are currently doing, you would say:

I am walking.
I am sleeping.

This can also be used to describe future actions:

I am buying a house (next Tuesday).

Be careful when using buying, as in certain contexts you may want to use shopping instead. Compare their definitions (from Oxford Dictionaries):

buy
[WITH OBJECT]
Obtain in exchange for payment:
"she bought six first-class stamps"
"he had been able to buy up hundreds of acres"

[WITH TWO OBJECTS]: "he bought me a new frock"
[NO OBJECT]: "homeowners who buy into housing developments"


shop
[NO OBJECT]
Visit one or more shops or websites to buy goods:
"she shopped for groceries twice a week"
"sometimes it's more convenient to shop online"

[WITH OBJECT]: "take a trip to downtown San Diego to shop the upscale stores of Horton Plaza"

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