General Writing and Grammar Help/Two grammar questions

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Question
Dear Ted,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply each time!

I read of two sentences in the elementary school textbook and I feel a little strange.

1.   The first step is ending the myth….
2.   Simple is best.

They, I think, should be as follows:

1. The first step is to end the myth….
2. Simplicity is best.

What’s your opinion?  Thanks!

Wish you health and happiness!  God bless you!

With best wishes,

Walden

Answer
Dear Walden:

Thank you very much for your prompt reply each time!

*** You are very welcome, Walden.


I read of two sentences in the elementary school textbook and I feel a little
strange.

1.   The first step is ending the myth….
2.   Simple is best.

They, I think, should be as follows:

1. The first step is to end the myth….
2. Simplicity is best.

What’s your opinion?  Thanks!

**** There are two special "verbals," words that are based on verbs like "end," but are NOT used as verbs.  The "gerund" is made by adding "-ing" to the end of the verb.  That is what occurs in the first sentence.  The gerund "ending" is followed by its object "myth" and the article "the."  Gerunds are used as nouns.  In the first sentence, "ending the myth" is a "predicate noun [nominative]" that refers back to the subject "step."  This sentence is correct.

However, another "verbal" is the "infinitive," which also can be used as a noun.  You take the verb "end" and put the preposition "to" before it, and you have an infinitive phrase -- to end the myth.  That is YOUR suggestion, AND it is also CORRECT.

So, for sentence 1, either "ending" or "to end" can be used.

In sentence 2, I am in agreement with you.  The noun form of "simple" is SIMPLICITY, and you are correct.  

Happy 2014 to you, Walden!

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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