Saturday, 5 December 2009

when a gerund does the job better than another noun form

I noticed a sign on the back of a van today. It said, 'Pipe and cable locating'.

My first reaction was that it should have said, 'Pipe and cable location', as I think location is the noun that best describes what I presume this company does - scan for pipes before the client excavates.

But they used a gerund, a verb form that operates as a noun.

On reflection, I think the sign is clever, in that the gerund form creates a subtle advertisement for them as an active business that will do things for you.


Papillon Bleu said...

My first idea was " what do they do once they've located the pipes and cables? call the police?".

parlance said...

Papillon Bleu, I would have wondered that also, except that I live part of the time in the bush, at a property that used to have the main cable for telecommunications from Sydney to Melbourne running along the bottom of the property. Every now and then local people, without locating the cable, would dig and cut through it, depriving thousands of people of their phone connection.

I'm not sure what cables people need to look for these days, before digging, but I guess that's what companies like this do.

I'm not quite sure, but I heard that at one time all of Australia depended on one cable that runs under the sea to Europe! I guess it would be a bad day if some company dredging the seabed cut that one!

Maybe it's all wireless these days. But I suspect there are still some important cables lurking down there in the ground, lol.