This allows for the proper sizing of equipment


This allows for the proper sizing of equipment.

  1. What does the sizing here mean? Is it an action or a noun?
  2. If it an action, is the use of 'the' correct?
  3. If it is ok to use the with an action, then how about "stop the brushing"? (Stop brushing your teeth)


Posted 2015-12-18T21:53:20.567

Reputation: 33



"Sizing" is kind of both a verb and a noun here! "Sizing" is the gerund form of to size. To size in this case means to make a particular size : bring to proper or suitable size. So sizing means the act of making a particular size.

Because it's a gerund, which is a verb form that acts like a noun, yes, the use of "the" is correct, because we're talking about a specific act of making something a particular size, but it isn't necessary. This particular sentence would have worked fine without it too.

"Stop the brushing" is gramatically correct, but it doesn't sound like what a native speaker would say. A phrase like "the brushing" means a specific, particular act of brushing. If you want to tell someone to stop an action, it would be more common to say "Stop brushing". A place where you will see "stop the X-ing" very frequently is in stop the bleeding, like "Run cold water over the cut to constrict the blood vessels and stop the bleeding." This is because in this case, we're concerned with a specific instance of bleeding that's happening right now, and not bleeding in general.


Posted 2015-12-18T21:53:20.567

Reputation: 25 636

Thank you. It was easy to understand. Then how about "stop the feigned coughing", talking to someone to stop? – Zeno – 2015-12-18T22:44:56.780

"Stop the feigned coughing" is grammatically correct, because you're telling someone to stop a particular act of fake coughing, but it doesn't sound like something a native speaker would say. Feigned is a very formal way of saying fake, and if you want to emphasize that someone should stop the particular act that they're doing right now, I would say "that" instead of "the". Stop that fake coughing sounds more fluent than Stop the feigned coughing. – stangdon – 2015-12-20T15:19:10.200

Thank you. Can you explain the difference between that and the? Doesn't 'the' refer to something specific too? what governs the each usage? – Zeno – 2015-12-21T01:05:19.947

That's actually a very good question about a subtle point. The article the means a noun that is unique or known from context (like "the bleeding" = "the one particular example of bleeding we're talking about right now"). That is a demonstrative, which is usually used when you're indicating a specific noun, like "My car is old and rusty, but that car* is new." Even more than that, though, in English "Stop that (behavior)" is an idiomatic stock phrase meaning "stop doing that particular behavior that you're doing right now". – stangdon – 2015-12-22T04:47:09.427

Here's a post on the difference between the and that from English.SE:

– stangdon – 2015-12-22T04:49:29.653


Sizing here is a gerund. Gerunds aren't verbs, but they are derived and related to verbs. Sizing here in particular is a "verbal" form of to size that is functioning as a noun.

To size X means the equivalent of either

  • to find the size of X, or

  • to find something that is a size that will fit X.

-ing words in general mean "the action of" - e.g. walking = the action of walking, sizing = the action of sizing.

Since sizing along with gerunds in general are nouns, most of the normal rules with articles apply. One exception is if a gerund has an object, then you don't use an article, e.g. I got in trouble for him sizing the equipment incorrectly.

Sizing is a definite event that is likely known from previous sentences or conversation, so the is called for here, versus a or no article.


Posted 2015-12-18T21:53:20.567

Reputation: 31 841