Thursday, September 2, 2010
Anybody know what a gerund is?
When it comes to using gerunds (a noun made from an action word by adding "ing"), just about everybody gets it wrong. Can you hear the difference in these examples?
Wrong: You snoring will keep me awake.
Right: Your snoring will keep me awake.
(It isn't you keeping me awake; it's your snoring.)
Wrong: Will me finishing the dishes make you happy?
Right: Will my finishing the dishes make you happy?
(It isn't me that will make you happy; it's my finishing.)
Wrong: The dog barking kept him awake.
Right: The dog's barking kept him awake.
(It isn't the dog that kept him awake; it's the dog's barking.)
And here's one I just saw on a major newspaper's website:
"...yet she recalls the Secretariat saga gripping people around the world."
(Should be, "...yet she recalls the Secretariat saga's gripping people around the world."
TIP: Use a possessive pronoun (or possessive proper noun) before a gerund.