General Writing and Grammar Help/give


Could you please help me with the following grammar question?

Which option is correct? Tell me why it is correct and why the other option is incorrect.

"Peter, all I can do is ............... you the patterns that I am personally aware of."

a) give

c) giving

Thank you

Option a is correct and c is not. The reason is that the gerund form [giving] denotes an actual action, while the infinitive form [to give, shortened to give], is more abstract. Note that this distinction does not always hold--in some sentences, the gerund may substitute for the infinitive. Thus, Lying is wrong means the same as To lie is wrong. You may have to learn which is which by using the language; you're always safe in not making the substitution.

David, I thank you for your question and I hope you ask more. Please don't bother to ask me to explain my reasons; that is an integral part of my responsibility in AllExperts.

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Richard Johnson


I can answer any question (except homework questions)--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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