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I LOVE "ING" WORDS - How was I to know they were BAD?

"Ing" words, also known as present participles or gerunds, are words that end in "-ing" and are used to convey continuous or ongoing actions in a sentence.

Here are 10 examples: swimming, running, dancing, eating, laughing, playing, sleeping, studying, writing, speaking.

I used them all the time - first mistake - never use anything "all of the time" when writing a book. But, when I started studying the craft of writing, I mean, really digging deep, I found so many reasons NOT to use "ing" words.

First, it's true, "ing" words can be useful for indicating progressive actions in writing, AND they can become problematic.

Here's the bad news.

Weakens Action: "Ing" words often denote ongoing or continuous actions, which can weaken the sense of immediacy and impact in a narrative. Instead of conveying a sense of decisive action, "ing" words can give the impression of actions that are ongoing or incomplete, leading to a passive or stagnant tone in the writing.

Passive Voice: "Ing" words can contribute to the overuse of the dreaded passive voice in writing, where the subject of the sentence is the recipient of the action rather than the doer. Passive voice can make sentences less direct, less engaging, and less impactful, diminishing the reader's connection to the story.

Redundancy: Overusing "ing" words can result in redundancy when describing actions. Instead of using succinct and active verbs, writers may rely on "-ing" forms to add detail, leading to unnecessary repetition and a lack of variety in sentence structures.

Delayed Action: "Ing" words can delay the action in a sentence, creating a sense of distance between the reader and the events unfolding in the narrative. This delayed action can slow down the pace of the story and detract from the sense of urgency and momentum in the writing.

But, but, I will continue to use "ing" words....just must more sparingly. Like anything: in moderation.

How about you? Do you overuse?

What are you thoughts?

Thanks for tuning in and happy writing!


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