RE: Why Gerunds? (Was: Overuse of gerunds in headings)

Subject: RE: Why Gerunds? (Was: Overuse of gerunds in headings)
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Steven Brown" <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 10:32:08 -0700

I wonder if it's because a gerund yields a nominative phrase:

"Creating A Document" as in

Creating a document is a basic task you must learn.

"Create A Document" seems to be a sentence, as in

Create a document. Next, edit the title.

One might use the phrase

"To Create a Document", which from my naïve understanding of grammar seems like it starts with an infinitive, as in

"To create a document, select File > New". I have no idea whatsoever what part of speech "To create a document" is (and why do we call it a part of speech when it's written?) but it looks like an adverb modifying "select". Someone help me out here!

So I like gerunds the best since they're *things* rather than *actions* or *modifiers*.


Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Steven Brown
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 5:55 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Why Gerunds? (Was: Overuse of gerunds in headings)

Hey now,

Will's question might prompt an interesting discussion about why we insist on using gerunds in the first place. Can we avoid gerunds and use more direct language instead? Microsoft Word's TOC might look like


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