The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

'people watching', 'watching' is a gerund or part of a continuous tense Options
A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 5:47:31 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
Posts: 3,736
Neurons: 14,293
Location: Seiyun, Hadramawt, Yemen
Hi!
While watching a film on a TV channel, I heard this phrase 'people watching'. In the Arabic translation of 'people watching' shown as the subtitle of the speech, 'watching' was translated as a noun.
So, why did the interpreter of that movie not translate 'watching' as part of a continuous tense [present continuous tense + an intransitive verb] - ('people who are watching'? However, s/he only translated it to Arabic as a noun modified by the noun 'people' (NN phrase).

So, I am still wondering if 'watching' in 'people watching' is as part of a continuous tense 'people who are watching' or not.

However, "I am inquiring about the apartment listing.", 'listing' is always transitive. So, it cannot be as part of a continuous tense (= NOT the apartment which is listing)

I looked up both 'watching' and 'listing' in the dictionaries, but I didn't find them listed as nouns. I only found 'watch' and 'list' as nouns.

So, in general, how can I distinguish the two, a gerund functioning as a noun and participle used as part of a continuous tense?
thar
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 6:45:04 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 21,137
Neurons: 85,467
You need to look at context and possibly do a search using that specific phrase.

On a website where you look for apartments, you have an apartment listing.
it is a listing of an apartment. A noun. A type of listing.
You look on the website and see an apartment listing, and then contact the seller or landlord.

In another context, after an earthquake you might see a building listing. That is a verb - tilting over, not standing straight. That is what the building is doing.


When you sit in a park bench and watch people go by, you are people-watching. You are watching people. That is a thing you do - people-watching.


But in another type of sentence there are people who are watching a match. These are people watching, not people playing in the match.

You have to:
Look at context and meaning.
Look it up on a search of English dictionary sites, not just translations
Understand that these things are flexible and idiomatic - you can't look for one rule to apply wherever you see the words in that form.

It is hard - there are just some words that are nouns. But they are listed in dictionaries.


Quote:
people watching
noun
noun: people-watching; noun: peoplewatching
the action or practice of spending time idly observing people in a public place.
"each seat has a view of the park across the street and is perfect for people watching"


people-watch
verb
gerund or present participle: people-watching
spend time idly observing people in a public place.
"the courtyard is a great place to sit and people-watch"



Quote:
listing
in American English

NOUN
1. the act of making a list
2. an entry in a list, as in a directory, a real-estate broker's record of property for sale, etc.
3. a list



Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 6:48:39 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/4/2015
Posts: 3,632
Neurons: 962,698
Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
People-watching is one of my favorite activities, and I practice it every chance I get.
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.