I've been noticing for a while now that verbal nouns (also called gerunds), that is, nouns with an -ing ending formed from verbs, as in "I love swimming", "Spending is out of control", and so on, have been losing their -ing when used as modifiers before another noun.
Here are some examples I've come across where formerly the -ing form would have been normal:
This is possibly the oldest example of this phenomenon, dating back to 1960, according to the OED. It is still vastly outnumbered by "waiting list" according to Google Books ngrams(click on this link to see the chart). But I think many of us would feel it rather old-fashioned to ask to be put on a "waiting list" rather than a "wait list" (or even a "waitlist", the fact that many of us write it as a fused compound now showing how very well established it is).
This one is on my credit card bill, and tells me just how much money I am spending on ballet tickets, as opposed to, say, food.
I have seen this on public health advertisements encouraging people to stop smoking. Look for it in early January!
The images above are, I think, quite telling. Only five years ago, Torontonians were being invited to the mayor's 2015 "skating party", but by 2017 this had suddenly become (and for 2020 still is) a "skate party".
This seems to happen on a word-by-word basis, as I don't think anyone is talking about "sing lessons", for instance, even though "sing" does exist as a noun: "Come to our annual carol sing!" I haven't come across "shop list" or "shop bag" either.
Have you noticed this phenomenon? What examples have you found? In the examples above, where would you use the -ing-less version and where only the -ing-ful version?
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