VERBAL NOUN. A category of noncountable abstract NOUN derived from a verb, in English by adding the suffix -ing. Like the verb from which it derives, it refers to an action or state: writing in The writing has taken too long; hearing in His hearing is defective. Verbal nouns are frequently combined with the preposition of and a noun phrase that corresponds to the subject or object in a clause: The grumbling of his neighbours met with no response (compare His neighbours grumbled); His acting of Hamlet won our admiration (compare He acted Hamlet). Verbal nouns contrast with deverbal nouns, that is, other kinds of nouns derived from verbs, such as attempt, destruction, and including nouns ending in -ing that do not have verbal force: building in The building was empty. They also contrast with the GERUND, which also ends in -ing, but is syntactically a verb.
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