General Writing and Grammar Help/give

Advertisement


Question
Hello
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
David

Answer
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.

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Richard Johnson

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

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

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

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.