The title tips my hand for this piece, which like the last one, will thus obviously be short. But it’s a darn good rule to learn, and I’m happy to be the one to tell you about it.
OK, what’s a possessive and what’s a gerund… And how does this apply?
A gerund is a verb turned into a noun and known as a type of “verbal.”
A possessive is an adjective that indicates possession of some sort.
Here’s a gerund and its use:
His going will not affect me. (See, the modifier is a possessive.)
Although I just saw a website that said gerunds can’t be plural, this isn’t true.
His goings and his comings are no business of mine. (See, the gerund can be plural.)
But gerunds, unlike most other nouns, can be modified by adverbs.
Ruth’s deliberately looting the funds was clearly illegal. (Deliberately is an adverb.) But you could also say: Ruth’s deliberate looting of the funds was clearly illegal. (Deliberate is an adjective.)
Also note that unlike most nouns, the gerund can take an object, as in “looting the funds.” So the gerund, a noun, can still serve the verb function in some ways.
Sometimes, it’s true, a gerund will be modified by an object form of a pronoun rather than the gerund—hey, stuff happens.
I like the idea of him going to Cleveland. (Or: I like the idea of his going to Cleveland.)
Well, you see. You can take the “him” as an object of the preposition “of.” Or you can take the “his going to Cleveland” simply as a gerund phrase.
A gerund can itself be an object (as the last one above is). I understood her cleaning the house in the dead of night as an act of rebellion. (The gerund “cleaning” is the object of “understood.”)
These are things you can think about on sleepless nights.
My coming schedule at Writer’s Digest University online at https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/
01/03/2019 – 02/14/2019 Writing the Mystery Novel
01/03/2019 – 04/18/2019 Advanced Novel Writing
01/17/2019 – 04/11/2019 Fundamentals of Fiction
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