Safire on participles and gerunds

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Dec 26 16:05:58 UTC 2007

On Dec 26, 2007, at 7:43 AM, dInIs wrote:

> Although I bet arnold will admit to its being an ambiguous noun-noun
> compound, the latter a verb-derived gerund and the former the plain
> old noun Arnold wrote of earlier.
> Ingredients for the stuffing (the stuff).
> Ingredients to be used in the activity (the stuffing of the bird)
> dInIs
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: Safire on participles and gerunds
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> On Dec 24, 2007, at 8:43 AM, Joel Berson wrote:
>>> Thanks, Arnold.  I am fortunately constrained in submitting to the
>>> OED to decide only between verb, adjective, and noun.
>>> I do have one quibble, though.  What about the adjectival use, in
>>> "The stuffing ingredients are bread crumbs [etc.]"?  Or should I
>>> wait
>>> 'til next November to raise this issue?
>> no need to wait.  "stuffing ingredients" is a noun-noun compound
>> (like
>> "pie ingredients").  its first element is of the category N, with the
>> function Adjectival.  (noun-noun compounds are one case among many in
>> which it's important to distinguish category and function.)

of course.  i just picked the interpetation people are most likely to
get, especially given the context with "bread crumbs", etc.

in other contexts, the gerundive nominal interpretation is easier to
get: e.g., "stuffing help" in "I need some stuffing help".


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