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Can “during” be followed by a gerund or only by a noun/noun phrase? I’ve asked many native speakers and they assured me that it can’t be followed by a gerund unless there’s a possessive adjective before the gerund, e.g. During my reading, the phone rang.


Sender Alfaleh Khalifa
Position Head teacher

I’m not certain that that particular sentence is acceptable. When reading is a countable noun—and thus used with a or the or another determiner—such as the readings that form a part of church services, it can be used with during. However, we have not used this meaning of reading in the course, and as I said, the sentence you give is doubtful, as reading is unlikely to have an uncountable meaning here. It is much better to say While I was reading, the phone rang.

In general, students should not use during with a gerund. It is grammatical only in very rare cases, and they would get marked wrong in an exam if they did so. See here for details.
 
 
ed. 18/10/15
rev. 24/12/15
 
 
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