Sunday, January 31, 2010

Words that end with ING

Can we begin sentences with words that end with ING? Sure. Here are some words that end with ing - reading, talking, dancing, trying.

Words that end with ING are interesting because they can play two very different roles in a sentence. The same word can take on the role of a verb (action) and noun (thing). For example, if I say "I am reading right now," the word "reading" describes what I am doing at the moment; it is an action; therefore, the word is being used as a verb. However, if I say, "I love reading," the word "reading" describes the thing that I love. Things are named by nouns; therefore, the word here is used as a noun.

When the word with ING is used as a noun, it is called a gerund. It is ok to begin sentences with gerunds, but not ok to begin them with verbs. If you begin a sentence with a verb, you will sound like Yoda from Star Wars who regularly started sentences with verbs (Remember him we must). In English, sentences need to start with nouns, so Yoda would not be a good role model when it comes to speaking.

Starting a sentence with a gerund (word with ING working as a noun) is a different story. Here are some examples:
* Writing well is an important skill for a manager.
* Teaching is my passion.

When you start the sentence with a gerund, it is typically followed by the verb TO BE and an explanation. For example: Exercising is good for you. Gardening is relaxing.

Thank you for your questions. Keep them coming.

Natalie
www.basic-learning.com
"Target Your Professional Growth"
FREE writing tips, writing course, and writing workbook

17 comments:

  1. Natalie wrote:

    "...If you begin a sentence with a verb, you will sound like Yoda from Star Wars who regularly started sentences with verbs (Remember him we must). In English, sentences need to start with nouns, so Yoda would not be a good role model when it comes to speaking....

    "...Starting a sentence with a gerund (word with ING working as a noun) is a different story..."

    **************************************
    Sam observes (as a question):

    Now, Natalie, is your latter sentence not in violation of your rule set out in your previous paragraph???

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not really, because the phrase "starting a sentence with a gerund" does not serve as a verb. It is the subject of the sentence, with a gerund as the simple subject. If I said, "Start the sentence with a gerund you should" then I would have been violating the rule.

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