Gerunds.... briefly... simply... painlessly... I hope...

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Gerunds.... briefly... simply... painlessly... I hope...

Post by Anja » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:00 pm

I apologize for dumping gerunds on you all. I got a little carried away with the lesson, and using possessives + gerunds seemed relative. At the time.

So here are some simple explanations.

I wish I could make a flow chart to show how the same word is performing several functions at the same time, but since I want to aim for SIMPLICITY and UNDERSTANDING, and I want to eliminate the need to memorize hundreds of (useless) terms, I'm not going to do that.

But, be aware that a word can be a gerund... a direct object... a noun... a verbal... all AT THE SAME TIME. Kind of like your mom is a daughter, a mother, a gramma, an aunt, a sister, and a cousin. What a person calls her at any given moment, depends on THEIR relationship to her...

Same with a word. Its name / function is dependent on its relationship to the other words in a sentence.

So a very simple explanation of GERUNDS.

A GERUND is a VERB that ends in -ing and is used in the same way a NOUN is used.

Learning is essential. [Gerund as subject]

My aunt enjoys swimming. [Gerund as direct object.]

We should give praying more attention. [Gerund as indirect object]

Do you see how learning, swimming, and praying are NOUNS, even though they LOOK like VERBS? They are being used as NAMES of things... things we DO, but nevertheless, they are NAMES, and therefore, NOUNS.

But, watch...

Anna is learning to speak Spanish.
My aunt is swimming is her new pool.
The church is praying for Haiti.

Now, the SAME words are being used as VERBS. See they difference? Something is being done... an action. In these sentences, they are preceded by an auxiliary verb is.

A gerund is able to be preceded by an adjective. A test, if you will, to identify a gerund.

And THAT is why you use possessive adjectives with gerunds... because gerunds are nouns, NOT verbs.

Another test for gerunds...Look for the SUBJECT and VERB in the sentence. If there already is a subject and a verb (someone DOING something), then it is a good chance the -ing word is a gerund. The gerund MAY even be the subject.

Check these -

Anna's learning Spanish was cut short by her accident.
Not... Anna learning Spanish was cut short by her accident.
Subject = learning
Verb = was

My aunt's swimming is helping her lose weight.
Not... My aunt swimming is helping her lose weight.
Subject = swimming
Verb = is helping

We need to give our praying more thought.
Not... We need to give us praying more thought.
Subject = We
Verb = need

Does that help?
Ann Grover Stocking

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Post by GreenLeaves » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:15 pm

Yes, that was EXTREMELY helpful to me. You are a very good teacher. That made it so much easier to understand. Thank you, Anja.

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Post by JesusPuppy » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:56 pm

Easiely understood, even for this old dog. Thanks Ann.
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Post by glorybee » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:06 pm

Putting in my two cents' worth--I've known of at least two college professors who called every -ing word a gerund. I learned the correct definition in high school, and that bugged me no end.
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Post by Cajunluvie » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:13 pm


Interesting, in English classes in grade and high school, I hadn't heard of this term 'gerund' but I get the concept.

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