Writing Exercises 16-18




For the most part, your writing exercises for the past 2 weeks have been designed to get you to substitute different noun phrases for the singular nouns of a simple equative clause or the singular nouns of a short transitive or intransitive sentence.  Nominal appositives, verbal appositives, adverbial appositives, nominative absolutes, and right-branching free modification using repetition and synonymy should be familiar by now.  However, it is also possible to substitute verb phrases in positions other than the predicate.  One typical structure is the gerund: a verb ending in -ing that occupies a noun position.  You may use gerunds anywhere that a noun might normally appear in a sentence and only where a noun might appear.  In the following example, the two gerunds function as the sentence’s compound subject:


Sneaking out on a Friday night and then trying to convince Eric's older brother to buy us some beer were regular August rituals when I was just a lad.


Here the two gerunds are being used as the direct objects:


I remember seeing him a good many times and even listening to him many more before I first spoke to him.  (C. P. Snow)


And finally, here are three gerunds that are being used in a series to form a catalogue:


When we were kids, we also devised a number of ordeals, which we willingly suffered, as tests of our early courage, walking bare-legged through nettles, climbing Old Man Simpson's barbed-wire fence to steal his apples, signing our names in blood and so forth.  (Evelyn Waugh)


EXERCISE 16 -- Write 1 sentence using a gerund as the subject.  Underline the gerund.


EXERCISE 17 -- Write 1 sentence using a gerund as the direct object.  Underline the gerund.


EXERCISE 18 -- Write 1 sentence using a series of gerunds to form a catalogue.  Underline the gerunds.


Compiled by Jesse Easley (2005).