Friday, August 17, 2007

-ing Words: Gerunds and the Passive Voice

EnglishClub.com has a thorough section on gerunds that, perhaps unintentionally, highlights some passive sentences. This is useful because it can help you figure out which of your own gerunds need to go.

One of their examples is, “I have a boring teacher.” While that’s not strictly passive like, “My teacher is boring” it’s still pretty blah. How can we spice it up? Try, “My teacher bores me.” I realize that, as an active verb, bore is an absurd choice but I can only work with what I’m given. Please ignore the fact that I gave it to myself.

For another glimpse of why ESL sites are excellent sources of grammar theory, check out EnglishPage.com and their gerund and infinitive tutorial.

When you learn a new language you come at the grammar from a logical perspective rather than the intuition-based, “it just sounds right,” school of thought. The explanation of language and form usage on ESL pages, thus, clarifies more than the way students learn grammar rules in elementary school.

Part 2 of the tutorial includes a few examples of passive sentences. For example, change “Sandy is scared of flying” to “Flying scares Sandy”. Thus you save a couple of words, change the gerund from the object of a preposition to the subject, and change the wimpy “is” to the more vivid “scares”.

Not all gerunds are passive. Their use determines whether you should reword your sentence or not. But look for them in your writing and judge them on a case-by-case basis.


2 comments:








Tom Paine

said...

Hi,
This stuff gives the real information one needs. One can feel like reaching the destination.
Thanks.





legbamel

said...

You're welcome, and thank you for reading!