September 09, 2006

Aha, from an ET

An Esteemed ET (English Teacher) writes: " I do feel compelled to correct a misconception of terms that you used in your blog. You advised avoiding the use of gerunds or words ending in "ing". All words ending in ing are not gerunds. A gerund is a verbal that is a combination of a noun and a verb as in,"SWIMMING" is my favorite sport. When a writer uses a construction such as -I AM SWIMMING in a competition today.-SWIMMING is not a gerund, it is the present participle of the verb "to swim" which is always used with a helping verb which is "IS" in my example."

So, readers, please remember, GERUNDS are indeed allowed, because they are essentially verbs acting as nouns, but the present participle, as in "I am swimming" or "He starts running" is weak and should be avoided.

Many thanks, Paula, er, ET, for making this important distinction, which I did not remember, having passed high school English MANY many years ago...and promptly forgotten all the rules of grammar that I could!

Posted by pamwagg at September 9, 2006 05:54 PM


Oops! I don't ALSO enjoy them in the way that Yaya does: I simply ENJOY them in the way that Yaya does!

Posted by: Cynthia at September 10, 2006 10:32 AM

Paula, if you were either a high school or a junior high English teacher you are to be commended for your courage, which must surely be of the steeliest sort. Someone like you once tried to teach me what a gerund was and failed, and I thank you for the late lesson now: "suffering" as in "pain and suffering," right?

Like Yaya, I also enjoy your comments.


Posted by: Cynthia at September 10, 2006 10:24 AM

Dear Pam,

Forgive me but I'd like to address this to your esteemed ET --- Paula.

Paula, I wondered about your identity. You are a mystery and I did wonder what you did ----- a sister, poet, a muse..... It was obvious to me that you were a person who understood style and the mechanics of writing. You communicate with such eloquence, humor and warmth. I'm 57 and I wish you had been my ET teacher.


Posted by: yaya99 at September 9, 2006 09:12 PM

I am now unmasked, revealed to be the nit-picky, fusty old retired English teacher that I am. I had secretly entertained the notion that if your readers thought of me at all(which is, of course, doubtful to say the least)they might have imagined me as a Shakespearean actress whose favorite role was Desdemona in Othello.
Even worse, I wrote those comments to you personally, saying that I would never say such things in a blog comment. I was horrified when those ET words stared me in the face when I opened your blog. I am grateful beyond words that you were not offended. Now if only I could erase my true personna from the real thinkers whom I so admire who comment on your blog. Oh, well, into each life a little reality must fall.
Much love, Picky Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at September 9, 2006 08:09 PM

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