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Re: Gerunds

Posted by TheFallen on October 08, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Grammar posted by Smokey Stover on October 07, 2004

: : : : : I need help about grammatical errors. I'm not sure if below sentences were written correctly. Could you help me out?

: : : : : First question

: : : : : " President Bush is trying to bring all of North Koreas neighbors together in a coalition, but Kerry thinks that this is wrong and the US should go back to one-on-one with North Korea even though this is what brought the nuclear nightmare that America is facing today. But he blamed *the North Koreans* getting nukes Bushes fault when the materials for building them came under the prior administration "

: : : : : Could you tell me why the last sentence used * the North Korean*? Can we say the North Korean

: : : : : second question

: : : : : " To judge this debate as if it were a forensics tournament is to miss the point. "

: : : : : why does a sentence above use "forensics"? Is forensics noun or adjective in this sentence?

: : : : : Thanks in advance

: : : : To the second question above, from Merriam Webster,
: : : : Main Entry: 2forensic
: : : : Function: noun
: : : : 1 : an argumentative exercise
: : : : 2 : plural but singular or plural in construction the art or study of argumentative discourse.

: :
: : :
: : : It's very difficult to answer your first question directly because the last sentence doesn't entirely make sense.

: : : It's not clear who "he" is for a start, whether you are talking about Bush or Kerry. It's also unclear what the subject of the sentence is. Are you talking about North Korea's nuclear capability? Are you talking about the fact that the North Koreans have aquired nuclear weapons? Is he blaming Bush for this situation or is Bush blaming the previous administration? Is he stopping short of blaming Bush?

: : : Whether you use "North Korean" or "North Korea's" depends on what the subject of the sentence is.

: : :
: : : Maybe if you could rewrite the last sentence (you might want to make it into two sentences) so that what you are trying to say is a little clearer we could be more helpful.

: : : Camel

: : Despite the fact of the last sentence being somewhat unclear, whether you choose to use "North Korea" or "the North Koreans", in both cases you'd need an apostrophe... so either "North Korea's getting nukes" or "the North Koreans' getting nukes". This is because "getting" in this sense is effectively a noun rather than a present participle - if my L@tin were better, I'd probably know whether it was a gerund or a gerundive.

: As TheFallen says, "Getting," in this case, is a present participle used as a noun. You can call it a "verbal," if you like, but not a gerundive. In "Carthago delendum est" (Cato the Elder), "delendum" is a gerundive.

: The passage does contain a few errors and a few uncertainties. The clause beginning after "...North Korea," starting "even though," expresses the view of the writer. The last clause of the paragraph, starting with "when," is also the view of the writer, not of Senator Kerry, although I think Bush has been heard to voice that opinion. The first Koreas should be Korea's. One-on-one, like almost everything else, can be used as a noun, but it would be clearer and smoother to treat it like the modifier that it is, and say something like "one-on-one negotiations." Even this is not really clear enough. Presumably Kerry does not mean that the two heads of state should meet one-on-one, but rather that the two countries, the U.S. and North Korea, should negotiate without the help or hindrance of any other parties. For Bushes, lege Bush's. A forensics tournament is a collegiate debate contest. Forensics and forensic come from the forum, where all these guys in togas used to argue all the time. The TV shows about physical evidence are using an extension of the original concept. OK, no mas. SS

Smokey's right when he says that "getting" is not a gerundive. However, driven by the fact that I was fairly sure that this usage was either gerund or gerundive, after a little research I think I've established that it's a gerund. This from the Columbia Guide to Standard American English (and why aren't there any easily locatable guides to standard English English on the web?):-

This construction, in which a noun or pronoun modifies a gerund (I don't like his driving so fast, rather than I don't like him driving so fast, or They felt that Mary's coming in late was bad, rather than They felt that Mary coming in late was bad) was long required in English classes. But for some time now either the genitive (possessive) or the objective case has also been Standard before gerunds, although Formal writing may use a bit more genitive with pronouns than it does with nouns. Native speakers can now trust their ears.