Grammar Tip: What is a Gerund?

I am so glad you asked! 🙂 This funny sounding word has a simple explanation.

Grammar Tip: What is a Gerund?

Image by ArtsyBee (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

A gerund is a verb form with the “ing” added to it and functions as a noun. Many times (but not always), a gerund is preceded by a possessive noun or a possessive pronoun.

Some Examples:

Reading is Janice’s favorite hobby. (Reading is the gerund and is used as a noun/subject of this sentence.)

I like writing. (Writing is the gerund and is used as a noun/direct object of this sentence.)

Jackie is afraid of falling down the stairs. (Falling is the gerund and used as a noun/object of the preposition “of” in this sentence.)

Andrew is a huge fan of my cooking. (Cooking is the gerund and used as a noun/object of the preposition “of” in this sentence. It is also preceded by the possessive pronoun “my.”)

That’s all!


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Misused Words: Coarse and Course

Coarse and course are confusing words. It is not so much with coarse which only has one definition; however, course has many definitions. Let’s see if I can break it down for you:

Misused Words: Coarse and Course

Coarse is an adjective meaning rough, unrefined, or crude.

For Example: The material has a coarse texture.

For Example: Some people use coarse language when they are angry.


Course can be used as a noun or a verb. It has several meanings which is one of the reasons it gets mixed up with coarse. Some of the more common definitions include definitely, to move or run, a place, for a meal, or a class (such as school).

For Example: Of course, I will review the book for you. (definitely)

For Example: The love of music courses through my veins! (move or run)

For Example: We will play 18 holes at the golf course tomorrow. (a place)

For Example: The French are famous for their seven course meals. (for a meal)

For Example: Janet is taking a poetry course in the spring. (a class).

There are other definitions for course but you get the idea. HINT: Basically, when in doubt, if it isn’t an adjective, use course. 🙂

Or another way to remember it is this: If it is rough and tough, use coarse, for everything else, use course!

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Misused Words: Past vs Passed

The English language can be so confusing. Past and passed are words that are easily mixed, especially in writing.

Misused words: Past and passed

However, the quickest way to remember how to use the two words is this: Past is used as a noun, adjective, adverb, or preposition. Passed is used as a verb.

For example: I don’t like to think about my past. (Noun)

For example: Joan read two books this past week. (Adjective)

For example: The editor ran past and almost knocked me over. (Adverb)

For example: We will leave when it is half past the hour. (Preposition)

For example: My son passed the history test. (Verb)

If you are not sure which word to use, simply ask yourself, “is the word passed (past) being used as a verb? If so, you know to use passed. If it isn’t, you know to use past.

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