Misra’s blog

English grammar – More rules

Posted by mtwinkle on June 13, 2007


A gerund is a word with ing added such as walking, talking, running. When these words are used as nouns, they are called gerunds.

Example: Running is my favorite form of exercise.

Rule: if you place a pronoun in front of a gerund, use the possessive form (like My, their etc).

Correct Example: My running ahead bothered him.
Incorrect Example: Me running ahead bothered him.

Correct Example: Their separating does not mean they won’t continue to be good parents to their three children.
Incorrect Example: Them separating does not mean they won’t continue to be good parents to their three children.

Continual v. Continuous

Continual means repeated but with breaks in between; chronic
Example: The continual problem of our car not starting forced us to sell it.
Continuous means without interruption in an unbroken stream of time or space
Example: The continuous dripping of the faucet drove me crazy.

 The King and I/Me

If the pronoun I is acting as the subject of the sentence, such as in, “The King and I met for tea,” use I.
If the sentence is, “The people elected the King and me,” the pronoun me is not the subject here. It is the object.

Who or Whom

When you are trying to determine whether to use who or whom, try inserting he or him into the answer. If he sounds correct, use who. If him sounds correct, use whom. This trick will work most of the time.

Example: Who/Whom should we call to order our supplies?
Explanation: We should call him to order the supplies.
Answer: Whom should we call to order the supplies?

Example: Who/Whom would you say is the top candidate for the job?
Explanation: I would say he is the top candidate for the job.
Answer: Who would you say is the top candidate for the job?

Effect or Affect?

Rule 1. Use the verb effect when you mean bring about or brought about, cause or caused.

Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.

Rule 2. Use the noun effect when you mean result.

Example: What effect did that speech have?

Rule 3. Also use the noun effect whenever any of these words precede it: a, an, any, the, take, into, no. Note: These words may be separated from effect by an adjective.

Example: That book had a long-lasting effect on my thinking.
Has the medicine produced any noticeable effects?

Rule 4. Use the verb affect when you mean to influence rather than to cause.

Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

Rule 5. Affect is used as a noun to mean emotional expression.

Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.


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