Having started this post, an idea struck me

The headline of this post is an example of a misplaced modifier (more specifically, this one is a dangling participle). Misplaced modifiers pop up every day, and even though it’s often clear what the writer meant, they cause a little stumble — and occasionally major confusion — for the reader. Why it’s wrong: When you…

What is a gerund, anyway?

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on March 17, 2010 Last week we talked about participles, which are verbs that work like adjectives. Gerunds are also based on verbs, but they work like nouns. Gerunds have only one form, and it looks exactly like the present participle — ending in “-ing.” But you can tell a…

What is a participle, anyway?

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on March 10, 2010 You may have heard of “dangling participles,” but knowing that you should avoid those doesn’t much help if you’re not sure what a participle is to begin with. So here’s a quick guide: A participle is basically a verb that works as an adjective. In other…