Greatest Hits: using -ing verbs

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Back in 2006 I posted a short piece about the difference between -ing verbs and the other forms of the verb. It’s also got nice advice on what Dr. Peter Clark calls “branch to the right.”

So while -ing is a natural part of English, and maybe a significant part of your true voice, it is gentle, not powerful. Clark has another column about some of the best advice he got on writing strong. He calls it, “Branch to the right.” It means get your subject and verb as close to the beginning of the sentence as you can, then follow them with your subordinate clauses. “Even a long, long sentence can be clear and powerful when the subject and verb make meaning early,” he says.

You can read the full post here. It includes a link to Clark’s fine book. I use -ing in our Workshop as an exercise. We’re filling out the September tables now. You can be sign-ing up for a spot even now.

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