Grammar tip: How to use gerunds correctly
On January 3, 2017 | 0 Comments | Grammar tips |

If you’re not familiar with the term “gerund,” it’s a noun that is created by adding “ing” to a verb.

For example:

Noun: To be

Gerund: Being

Noun: To write

Gerund: Writing

While gerunds are easy to use as simple subjects (Writing is important to me) or as objects (I love writing), they can be a little tricky when possessives (my, your, his, her, our, their) are involved. But if you force yourself to remember that gerunds are nouns, it’s a lot easier.

For example, here are some common errors I encounter with gerunds and possessives:

  • Is him being at the party a problem for you? (INCORRECT)
  • Is his being at the party a problem for you? (CORRECT)

Are you still confused? If so, replace “being at the party” with another noun, let’s say “poisonous snake,” and see which sounds correct:

  • Is him poisonous snake a problem for you?
  • Is his poisonous snake a problem for you?

Here’s another example:

  • I believe that me taking the time to write this post is important. (INCORRECT)
  • I believe that my taking the time to write this post is important. (CORRECT)

Are you still making a face at your screen? If so, try replacing “taking the time to write this post” with another noun, let’s say “health,” and see which sounds correct:

  • I believe that me health is important.
  • I believe that my health is important.

When you switch out the gerund for a simpler noun, the correct answer jumps out at you, right? Gerunds aren’t always easy, so I use that trick all the time. When in doubt, switch it out! If you do, your ear should tell you which way to go.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Maria

 

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2017 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

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