Friday, March 07, 2008

Every once in a while...

I feel like I should be wearing the dunce cap.
Okay, I really was going to post pictures about our building project, but they're not loading properly for some reason, so I can't.
Anyhooo...this may shock some of you, but I tend to spend a lot of time reading blogs.
Much more time than I should.
Of course they're all writing-related so it's important that I read them.
Yes, thanks for agreeing.
Well, yesterday I came across a word on Rachelle's (ahem, agent extraordinaire) blog that I'd never heard of.
Seriously.
Gerund.
Never heard of it. I'm an English major and I've never heard this term used before in my life.
On the other hand, this could well be the first indication of early Alzheimer's.
So, do you know what Gerund means? Since I'm fixated on this now, I'll tell you.
In English the gerund is identical in form to the present participle (ending in -ing) and can behave as a verb within a clause (so that it may be modified by an adverb or have an object), but the clause as a whole (sometimes consisting only of one word, the gerund) acts as a noun within the larger sentence.

Got that? Yeah, me too.
It's those ing words I do believe. We went swimming, but because it was raining we ended up leaving.
And Gerunds are bad. So they should be with a name like that.
They're bad because they're passive. So here's my sentence re-written.
We swam for an hour but then it rained, so we left.
Not sure it that's any better.
In fact, this morning I'm not sure of anything. How did I ever pass my high school English without knowing what a Gerund was?
How have I existed thus far, confound it all.
What else don't I know and will it reflect badly on me as a writer?
I think I'm doomed.

2 comments:

Christa said...

As one who has had the torture of having to introduce verbals (participles, infinitives, gerunds) to high school students, I can promise you sister, you're not doomed!

If and when you're so bored that you want to investigate gerunds, I'll be more than happy to give you enough info to drive you to insanity!

Catherine Downen said...

Hi Catherine,
College English Professor here. You're close, but not quite there. The -ing word is used as a noun, as in "Swimming is my favorite sport." "Joe likes running." "Our church saw an increase in giving this month." Good ol' gerunds!