Remember when I got up on my soapbox and ranted about “verbing a noun”?
(Bad Example: trialed)
Well, today I plan to talk about nouning a verb, which is perfectly copacetic.
(Word of the day: copacetic = satisfactory, acceptable)
In fact, they have an official word for “nouning a verb”: gerund.
Most gerunds end in -ing; hence, verbing and nouning could be gerunds if they were real words.
My personal motto is made up of three gerunds:
“Learning, loving, serving.” I figure a life spent doing these three things would be a life well spent.
These gerunds are nouns just like “Truth, justice, and the American way.”
A gerund differs from a present participle in that it acts as a noun, performing as a subject or object of the sentence.
Learning can be fun. (subject)
I have always liked learning. (direct object)
Present participles generally have some form of the verb “to be” in front of it:
… is learning, are learning, were learning, have been learning.
These are verbs; they are not acting as nouns, therefore they are not gerunds.
Because a gerund acts as a noun, it can have a possessive pronoun in front of it.
I could have used a gerund in yesterday’s tip:
“I thought my being a cheerleader would make me popular.”
“Being” is the gerund here. Note that this doesn’t say “me being a cheerleader…”
Here’s another example of a possessive pronoun in front of a gerund:
I’m sorry about your having to wait for an hour.
Gerunds can also be the object of a preposition:
The course was about drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
The purchase order for completing the water treatment plant was finally approved.
So don’t be afraid of nouning a verb – just do it correctly!