“Working for the man”. Does “Working” act as a noun, verb or something else in this case and why?
If I said, “I am working for the man.” Then clearly working is a verb. However, I’m confused by the colloquial phrase “working for the man.” It seems to have a “poetic” tone if you will. Because the subject does not exist I wonder if “Working” is a state of being in this case?
As “Peter Shor” pointed out Maybe the answer is that because this is not a complete sentence then we don’t know what role “working” plays in the sentence.
FWIW, I’m imaginging how I can translate the phrase into Japanese. Which word I use for “Working” depends on whether it is a noun or a verb.
Are you perhaps thinking of the song ‘Proud Mary’?
Left a good job in the city,
Working for The Man every night and day,
And I never lost one minute of sleeping,
Worrying ’bout the way things might have been.
If so, working is an ellipted form of I was working, and is thus the -ing form of the verb work.
It’s rather different in a clause such as Working for the man was hard. There its role is ambiguous, but I think a good case can be made for it being a noun, since it is the subject of the clause.