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Are -ing words really that bad? Leah McClellan A reader sent in a question that goes like this: Have you wondered about it? We use words that end in -ing all the time.
Why and when should writers avoid them? Verbs or verbals that end in -ing are common, and they serve many purposes. Running, breathing, drinking, sleeping, writing, and imagining are just a few examples. She was running every morning. Running in the darkness, she twisted her ankle.
Running was a regular part of her morning routine. She had to take a break from running. The running girl, an apparition in the morning fog, suddenly disappeared. She is running again now. Out of any particular context, these sentences are fine, and the -ing words are used correctly.
So what could be wrong with them? Three types of words that require -ing endings Words that end with -ing have a variety of functions. Present, future, and past progressive verb combinations When combined with auxiliary helping verbs such as to be am, are, is, was, were, been, etc.
She is running daily now. She will be running tomorrow. She has been running for three hours. Gerunds—present participles of verbs—that act as nouns Verbs that end in -ing can be used as nouns and even subjects of sentences. These are called gerunds.
Running can be hard on your knees. Eating breakfast can be helpful for many runners. Gerunds are useful because they point to the essence of an action—the concept or thing-ness of it—rather than the action in performance. I run action underwaybut running action named by a gerund is my passion.
Present participles used as adjectives In this case, a verbal such as running expresses the concept of action as any verb does.
Simple Sentences: Subject and Predicate Think of baby sentences: Johnny hungry. Cat run. English sentences are composed of a topic and something said about that topic, commonly referred to as the subject and predicate. Primary Resources - free worksheets, lesson plans and teaching ideas for primary and elementary teachers. I really liked the tip about writing in an inverted pyramid style. You need to draw your readers in at the first sentence! Otherwise, when they first land on your post, they will scan, scan, scan.
Its job in this case, however, is to modify describe a noun or pronoun. What kind of girl? What kind of wind? Why avoid -ing words in fiction or any writing? Should you avoid them? When overused, -ing words in the progressive forms whether past, present, or future tense introduce too many weak, little words like am, are, is, was, were, been, have, has, and had—and more.
These are helping verbs that the progressive forms require: I was running, I will be running, I am running, I am going to be running, and though not often used I will have been running.
Helping verbs add little meaning on their own; they only serve to bolster or add meaning to the main verb. Use simple present, past, or future tenses for more concise writing.
She runs daily now. She ran every morning. She will run tomorrow. Choose -ing words carefully and replace with more powerful or descriptive verbs.Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
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Sentences are really simple things. They have a subject and predicate, and they express a complete thought. That’s the basic sentence, but there is much more to understanding and writing one.
A simple sentence, on the other hand, only has a single subject-verb relationship. Segregating Style Simple sentences sometimes play a role in a literary device known as segregating style, where a writer employs a number of short, balanced sentences in a row for emphasis.
This guest post from Short Short Story winner Eleanor D. Trupkiewicz features simple rules for writing effective, realistic dialogue in fiction.
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