1. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Gerunds

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Keitsumah, Jul 22, 2013.

    Okay, i admit it. I have serious issues with using gerunds. I've tried to kill that abuse by cleaning my story out of them, but i still end up using them because i can't find any other way around them. Does anyone have any good tips about using gerunds correctly? i am at a loss as to what to do.

    I figured i'd show two paragraphs from my book as examples so you know what I'm dealing with. Both are from the first chapter. The "he" is the MC's brother.

    Sample one:
    Waiting until he was a few feet ahead, I gathered up the wood and followed him down a narrow road of snow and ice that we had walked many times before through the woods. It had once been a narrow, animal-made path that was kept secret for many years by the forest until Ardoway had found it when I was younger. Countless races of footprints marked the dips and flats between each bend, and I got the distinct impression we walked along something old beyond our comprehension. Who knew how many creatures that had died out had stood in this very place?

    Sample two:
    Shaking my head to clear it as I reached one of the highest branches, I looked over to the village and gazed between the long-frozen needles and icicles, silver in the fading sunlight as a cloud covered its gold eye. This was no time to be troubled. Now was a time to enjoy life while it lasted. A lock of my brazen hair fell into my face, flashing brilliantly for a moment in the sun’s last rays as it began to set, and I breathed in the chilly air; feeling the sharpness of it sting the back of my throat. Sometimes I came out here secretly on clear nights when the moon shone, just to look at the stars. I felt as if I was looking up to where our parents had gone, and was letting them know that I was still here, that I would always hold them close to my heart despite my never really knowing them.

    Any help is very much appreciated.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Use them sparingly and only when the action is in progress, I believe.


    I'm sure my examples will not be the most creative:

    "Waiting until he was a few feet ahead, I gathered up the wood and followed him down a narrow road of snow and ice that we had walked many times before through the woods."

    (It would help to know why he lets the other guy get a few steps ahead.) - I gathered up the wood and followed a few steps behind him.



    "Shaking my head to clear it as I reached one of the highest branches, I looked over to the village and gazed between the long-frozen needles and icicles, silver in the fading sunlight as a cloud covered its gold eye."

    From one of the highest branches I looked ... I shook my head to clear the fog.



    "I breathed in the chilly air; feeling the sharpness of it sting the back of my throat. Sometimes I came out here secretly on clear nights when the moon shone, just to look at the stars.

    The sharp sting of chilly air hit the back of my throat (we know without being told he had to breathe it in)
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    He can also breathe in through his nose...



    Gerunds without exception end in -ing so I don't see an over-abundance in your work http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/gerund.htm
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Where are the gerunds in these examples? I don't see any. Maybe I'm weak on the concept of gerunds, too.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    These are not gerunds. They are present participle phrases.

    A gerund is a present participle used in a noun context.

    "Dancing develops strength and coordination."

    'Dancing' is a present participle used as the subject of the sentence.

    Participle phrases describe actions taking place concurrently with the main verb of the sentence or clause. However, concurrence means the action in the participle phrase tales place throughout the duration of the main action, and this is what is most frequently overlooked by writers. Especially, but not exclusively, inexperienced writers.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I didn't realize everything ending with 'ing' wasn't a gerund. Always nice to learn new things. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerund#Distinction_from_other_uses_of_the_-ing_form
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/-ing#Uses

    But it would appear the question is the same regardless the errors in terminology. My answer applies to using an 'ing' word to start a sentence.
     
  7. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    ayayay I'm even more confused now. ugh i guess ill need to get my English teachers to help me out (sadly, i stink at that class)
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry about the technicality. I learned the word gerundio (Spanish) before I learned the word gerund. It has a more limited use in Spanish. I've always applied the label to verbs ending in -ing.

    It doesn't change your original question, does it, to give the concerning words a different name? You still should use -ing words at the beginning of a sentence sparingly. You can use them, just don't overuse them, is my understanding.
     
  9. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think peoprl ewoory too much about rules. Just write, make it the best story ever told. No one will give a shit if you broke a rule giving them endless hours of entertainment. Ask your English teacher how many books he/she has written...
     

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