keyword_expert's profile

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Saturday, April 17th, 2021 6:58 PM

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Keywords - Are verbs that end in "ing" or in "s" preferred?

A question for the community:

When adding keywords describing an action that occurs in the film, are verbs ending in "ing" or in "s" preferred?

For example, consider the keywords "woman-vomiting" and "woman-vomits."

These two keywords describe the exact same thing. Yet they are two separate keywords, and each is currently used for the exact same number of titles (32 titles each).

Is one of them preferred over the other? If so, why?

Accepted Solution

Employee

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2 years ago

Hi keyword_expert -

 

I'm just chiming in to confirm that there is no direct editorial preference as to whether Keyword verb endings be in "ing" or "s".

 

Ideally we aim to avoid keyword duplication whenever possible, when there are instances of duplicate verb keywords, when reported,  our staff can combine them (usually we prefer to keep the most used keyword).

 

In the meantime, we are always looking to improve data on the site, I have passed along your feedback regarding having more direct information about our Keyword preferences referenced within the Help Guide.

 

Cheers!

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2 years ago

When adding an "ing" to a verb, it becomes a gerund.  A gerund can act, by itself, as a noun, i.e., vomiting, or as an adjective in conjunction with a noun, i.e., vomiting-woman.  Putting the gerund in the final position, i.e., woman-vomiting,  seems somewhat prosaic and distancing.  In this particular care, I prefer "woman-vomits," because it is present tense and more active.  (Actually, I prefer women - and men - not vomiting at all, but, alas, that is not the reality!).

In other particular cases, my preference would differ, depending on the verb involved.  I doubt there is any possible consistency for ALL verbs when used in a gerund.  Therefore, I almost always look to the keyword with the most titles as the precedent.  That's almost like voting for a choice.

It's a tight race here:

woman-vomits       32 titles

woman-vomiting    31 titles 

vomiting-woman    12 titles

But, look at this:

crying-woman.        1996 titles

woman-crying.          371 titles

woman-cries.                 0 titles

(edited)

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Thank you for your helpful thoughts, Bradley Kent. I am a big fan of your work, and your commentary, on keywords.

One additional thing worth noting is that "vomiting-woman" describes the woman herself, while "woman-vomits" and "woman-vomiting" describe the act of vomiting. This reminds me of your query about the differences between "murderer" and "murder." Technically they describe two different things--one a person and the other an action. You have asked if it is appropriate to have two different sets of keywords for these two different things. I believe it is, because there may be situations where the emphasis is on one of them versus the other (mainly depending on whether the person and/or the action are depicted in the film). 

That was why I left "vomiting-woman" out of my original query. "vomiting-woman" technically describes something different. But I continue to believe that "woman-vomits" and "woman-vomiting" describe the exact same thing.

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2 years ago

Perhaps a staffer has an opinion on this matter? Perhaps the guide should state something about this?

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2 years ago

The action usually takes preference over the person doing or receiving the action.

It's simple logic.  Can there be a "murder" without a "murderer"and "murder-victim," although "murderess" and "child-murderer" or "child-murderess," etc., seem like valid exceptions because of their minority and specific status.  Can there be "rape" without a "rapist" and "rape-victim," although "male-rape," "rape-of-a-child," etc., seem like valid exceptions?  Can there be a "kidnapping" without a "kidnapper" and a "kidnap-victim"?  "smuggling," without a "smuggler"? "theft," without a "thief"? Etc.

Nouns ending in "ion" or "age" seem to take precedence over those ending with "ing," i.e., "urination" instead of "urinating," "marriage" instead of "marrying," etc.

The point is: there are no all-encompassing, universal rules when it comes to keywords, only preferences.  But isn't the goal to reduce (if not attempting to eliminate) repetitions and duplications.  In the early days of IMDb, the practice was to use the keyword that had the most titles --- a sort of "voting," of "democracy at work," in determining such decisions.  Now, too many times, it seems like a question of how many different ways one can say the same thing, over and over.

(edited)