Gerunds: What Are They?

Updated: Jan 14

For those who aren't familiar with gerunds, they're those pesky words ending in ing.


Gerunds have their purposes, and they work well in certain sentences, but when used throughout a manuscript, particularly fiction, they do nothing but slow the pace.


Take a look at the following sentence:

As I was running through the trees, the black figure began chasing me.


As you can see, this example needs to be fast-paced due to it being part of a chase scene, but the gerunds slow it down.


Now reread the same example, but this time, written in the past tense without the gerunds.

I ran through the trees as the black figure chased me.


Much faster, right?


Unless you're writing in a tense that requires gerunds, perhaps you should go through your manuscript and replace as many as possible with their past tense form. Your writing will be much faster, tighter and gripping as a result!


For more advice on how to become a better writer, enrol on the Become a Pro at Copy Editing Course and learn everything you need to know about perfecting your manuscripts!

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