Adaptation and adapting?

the question here is:
“…to a new environment is a difficult thing for old people (adapt)”
and the answer is adaptation. Can i ask why i can not use adapting ?


I’m not sure if I understand the question. Are you supposed to use a form of the word ‘adapt’ at the beginning of the sentence? If so I think it should be:

Adapting to a new environment is a difficult thing for old people.

I don’t think adaptation is wrong, but adapting works better in that sentence.


I fully agree with you.


So do I, Masme and Nearly Napping.


Let me delete the prep phrases and list some possibilities for the sentence.

  1. Adapting is a difficult thing.
  2. Adapting is difficult.
  3. Adaptation is a difficult thing
  4. The process of adapting is a difficult thing.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I can’t quote grammar rules, but I believe that ## 2,3 and 4 are better than #1.

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Hi Arinker,

Semantically speaking, the following one, the one that NN initially gave is correct. I felt it was, but to reassure myself I had to look it up.

Adapting to a new environment is a difficult thing for old people. as NN suggested.

as it emphasizes the process of adjusting and embracing shifts in our living circumstances and so you do not need to say 'the process of adapting".

Again, NN is correct.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, and delving into grammar that I don’t really understand (or care about)…

As I said, I don’t think ‘adaptation’ is wrong. Some sources say that ‘adaptation’ and ‘adapting’ are used interchangeably. Other sources imply a difference, but it’s unclear what that difference is.

I think there is some confusion because of the word ‘thing’ which implies a noun, or at least a gerund. So is ‘adapting’ a gerund or a participle? It seems like a gerund to me. “An adapting person” would be a participle, right? But that is not how it’s used.

As a gerund, I think the word ‘thing’ can be used. It is often used that way, although it may be “incorrect” by some accounts.

Anyway, I think either word works. If this is on a test, then the “correct” answer is the one the test giver says it is. You can argue whether it’s really correct. You may or may not win that argument.

Just the fact that hunglmao asked the question shows a decent grasp of the language. If it’s on a test, then you need to know the “correct” answer, and maybe the reason why. In real English, as used, it doesn’t matter.

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What you say makes a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing your point of view with the other forum members.