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Have you ever thought about your “ings”? How do you use them? Do they strengthen or weaken the verbs that you are using? Do you use the right amount or do you need to modify them?
English is a language of inflection. Adding an -s or -es to a noun makes a plural, whereas adding an -s or -ed to a verb distinguishes present action from past. Adding -ing changes the verb to progressive as in they began shooting the film, the wave washing across the pavement, etc.
Consider this passage:
Wilting under the strain of weeks of blistering heat, the children set about complaining to family members that their was nothing to do and would school ever start again, and rallying their moms and dads to send them off to summer camp or letting their friends come and visit.
How many ING words do you count? Are they making the sentence better or weaker?
Are they weakening the verb or strengthening it?
Consider these problems:
- Adding “ing” adds an extra syllable to the word, this can change the sound of the word, almost making it different than what it really is.
- After a while all those ING words start to look and sound the same. They lose their punch.
What happens in you change that sentence?
The children wilted under the strain of blistering heat. With no energy to run around and discover their own activities, they have complained to their family members that they needed more to do. They rally to their parents for summer camps, visits with friends or other activities to do.
Which sound better or makes more impact? Don’t you find the second cleaner and more precise?
This isn’t to say you can’t use -ing words, just play around with them a bit, see what fits better. Use them judiciously, use them when needed to make your words more precise, clean and definitive. To call attention to action when it’s needed, not just for the sake of using them. 🙂
Want to practice? Check out my free printable won’t you?