Grammar: Gerunds: a survey on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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Gerund X-ing Family

Dear reader,

This time, I'd like to introduce you to some personal friends of mine - the Royal X-ing Gerund  family. Never heard of them? Well, this isn't surprising because in our democratic ages royal people try to travel unrecognised, sometimes even disguised as business men and women under the name of "-Ing Form". There are even some people of the Verbal Adjective Class that try to imitate them by taking on their outfit (a tail of -ing). Those "Present Participles" can define somebody or something but they don't have the power and the reflecting appearance of the X-ing Gerunds . However, even Infinitives may disguise as nobles functioning as a subject, direct object, subject complement in a sentence. Although an infinitive is easy to discover because of the to + verb-forms.

1. Deciding what function X-ing Gerunds have in a sentence can sometimes be confusing. But every real G.R.Amarian can distinguish these nobles ruling nearly every sentence wherever they are seen. And I lay claim to the fact that there is no other member of all parts of speech that has got such a wide range of functions and as much influence on our daily talks and writings as the X-ing Gerunds.

Let's have a closer look at those different functions:

First of all there is the nominal X-ing Gerund  first class. It has lost all signs of its origin from a verb. but has taken on all the signs of the ruling nouns. i.e.

plural -s, numerals buildings, two ~
articles a building, the buildings, 
of genitives the buildings of Central London
possessive pronouns his buildings
demonstrative pronouns those buildings
adjectives those cheap buildings

I'm sure you can identify some more like suffering, and longing for a meeting at a hiding-place.

2. The " hiding-place- X-ing Gerund "- member leads to another aspect of this fascinating family:
Some X-ing Gerunds  have married rich men and women from the street and show their predominance in the marriage by keeping a hyphen and the first and main stress when they go out together:

Things/Persons used for an activity
Things/Persons that are doing something.
swimming-pool  ['............ , ......] swimming restaurant ['............ ' ......]
running-shoes ['............ , ......] running comentary ['............ ' ......]
running-dresses ['............ , ......] running water ['............ ' ......]
sleeping-car ['............ , ......] sleeping child ['............ ' ......]
dancing-teacher ['............ , ......] dancing bear ['............ ' ......]

3. All other royal people of X-ing Gerunds  are verbal nouns that are used as

a subject  Parting is such sweet sorrow.
a complement Seeing is believing.
an object He enjoyed sailing.
a prepositional complement to
adjectives and 
I'm looking forward to seeingX-ing G..
I'm interested in meeting royal people.
But there is the difficulty in getting an interview.
tied to an object  I enjoyed reading a book about X-ing G. 
connected to an adverb  I couldn't help laughing heartily.

4. Forms: X-ing Gerund  often comes alone but sometimes likes being accompanied (although the first to come is still a present X-ing) e.g.

" Old Sir Gerund entered the room without seeing1me or being seen2}3
   and left without having seen1 me or having been seen2}4."

That means it can wear the dress of an active1(seeing, having seen) or passive2( being seen, having been seen) person in a present day3(seeing, being seen) or past style 4(having seen and having been seen).

The difference may have serious consequences if you have a look at the following situations:

The bank-robber entered the bank without the policeman seeing him.
The bank-robber entered the bank without seeing the policeman.

6. Some people think and say that the roots of the Gerund family must be in Scotland because you can save a lot of breath by using prepositions together with gerunds for shortening even complete sentences to a short phrase. I for one assert that this statement is a prejudice that can't stand an objective assessing though the examples are worth being looked at:

Without hesitating X-ing Gerund spends a lot of money.
By working for an international firm he earns a lot of money.
Instead of saving his earnings he buys one Rolls Royce after the other.
I want to thank him for telling me these details.
Before giving me this interview nobody knew anything about his activities.
After hearing so much about the X-ing Gerund family you are experts on Gerunds now.
What about writing an article for "Who's who" ?

7a. Perhaps you want to have a look at the waiting-list of common people who want to shake hands with X-ing Gerund . Don't be afraid of finding so many.

finish forgive 
get through 
give up 
go on 
can't help 
keep (on) mention 
(not) mind 
put off 
(can't) see 
take up 

7b. Some of these commons are not loyal. Those verbs can go with Gerund or Infinitive objects with little or no difference in meaning:

start like
begin love
continue hate
cease  prefer
commence dread 
undertake neglect
propose (can't) stand / can't bear
can afford  

7c. Some of these commons still are not loyal: They  go steady with Gerund or Infinitive objects, but with a difference in meaning:

________ learning
first it happens;
then there is mental activity)
________ to learn.
first there is mental activity about a possible future event)
attempt; try Have you ever tried writing the test without any mistakes?
Make an experiment, hoping for success.
He tried to do it without mistakes.

Make an effort, hoping to do it 

forget He forgot  posting the letter.
Do it, then have a mental lapse 
He forgot to post the letter.
Have a mental lapse, and therefore not do it .
regret  I regret telling him the truth.
Do it, then feel bad. 
I regret to tell him the truth.
Feel bad, but then do it.
remember  Remember posting the letter.
Do it, then be aware of it 
Remember to post the letter.
Think about it, and then do it.

7d. Go and X-ing Gerund are good friends.

This combination is usually used in many expressions related to recreational activities and shopping. For example:
go boating, go canoeing, go fishing, go sailing, go camping, go hunting, go skating, go shopping, go skiing, go sightseeing, etc.

7e. There are other relations that are rather firm like the preposition + Gerund relation:

Prepositional verb +  Gerund *(see list)
He apologised for  coming late.
I can't approve of  
Adjective + preposition +  Gerund *(see list)
She is pleased with getting a letter. erfreut über
He is good at playing the guitar. gut in
 Prepositional noun +  Gerund *(see list)
What's the advantage of  eating meat?
I have a little difficulty with  filling in this form
Phrase +  Gerund *(see list)
It's no use  eating vitamine pills.
It's worth  filling in this form.

But now I must stop writing (in order) to do some important things. So much for today. Perhaps you want to practise your knowledge about X-ing Gerund a bit?

All you have to do is CLICK here.

Yours Klaus F. Maas

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