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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.
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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.
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:Since many business school admissions officers encourage applicants to “write less, say more,” it is important to communicate your background and career ambitions in a concise and clear way.
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So, I have been told not to use ing words in fiction writing because it is not the right tense. Hello! My name is Matt and I have a serious passion for anything marketing related, both academically and professionally.
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