gerunds and abstract nouns n.
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Gerunds and Abstract Nouns. Nouns in Academic Writing.

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gerunds and abstract nouns

Gerunds and Abstract Nouns

Nouns in Academic Writing

slide2

Attribution theory states that learning can be affected by attributing it to lack of ability or lack of effort. When people believe that they did badly at some task because they were not born with the ability, they tend to become discouraged and give up. In other words, if a person thinks ability is something you are born with, trying harder and making mistakes seems like a waste of time. This belief is characterized by statements such as “I’m no good at that” or “I’m bad at that.” They see their mistakes as more proof that they are not good at something and will never be good at something. On the other hand, people who do not attribute their mistakes to lack of ability usually welcome mistakes because they see them as information to help them figure out what they did wrong and how to correct them. This sort of attitude is defined by wanting to try new things and having learning goals. The goal for this kind of student is to learn, not to look smart. The good news is that people’s negative beliefs about learning can be changed by training them to see intelligence as a muscle that can grow with exercise.

slide3

Attribution theory states that learning can be affected by attributing it to lack of ability or lack of effort. When people believe that they did badly at some task because they were not born with the ability, they tend to become discouraged and give up. In other words, if a person thinks ability is something you are born with, trying harder and making mistakes seems like a waste of time. This belief is characterized by statements such as “I’m no good at that” or “I’m bad at that.” They see their mistakes as more proof that they are not good at something and will never be good at something. On the other hand, people who do not attribute their mistakes to lack of ability usually welcome mistakes because they see them as information to help them figure out what they did wrong and how to correct them. This attitude is defined by wanting to try new things and having learning goals. The goal for this kind of student is to learn, not to look smart. The good news is that people’s negative beliefs about learning can be changed by training them to see intelligence as a muscle that can grow with exercise.

research has shown
Research has shown…
  • Gerunds and abstract nouns are very common in academic writing.
  • Many non-native speakers of English use a lot fewer gerunds and abstract nouns than native speakers.
  • Their writing appears to be far less academic than is expected in college and university settings.
  • Their writing appears to be childish and simple.
gerunds
Gerunds
  • Gerunds are derived from verbs.
  • They usually refer to processes, or things that people do.
  • Ex. Reading “The Effort Effect” made me think about the difference between memorizing and critical thinking.
  • In other words:

Because I read “The Effort Effect”, I thought about the difference between when we memorize something and when we think critically about it.

be careful
Be careful
  • When verbs become gerunds, they keep their “partners”

a. Transitive verbs that become gerunds often keep their objects.

  • Ex. After I read “The Effort Effect”, I thought about my beliefs about how we learn.
  • After reading “The Effort Effect, I thought about my beliefs about learning.

b. Verbs with preposition phrases keep them.

  • Ex. I reflected on my learning experiences. It made me realize something.
  • Reflecting on my learning experiences made me realize something.
slide7

c. Sometimes the adverbs stay as adverbs, but usually they become adjectives.

Ex. When people study immediately before a quiz, it is usually not that helpful.

Studying immediately before a quiz is usually not that helpful.

Ex. Students who frequently read in English can improve their vocabulary and grammar.

Frequent reading in English can improve vocabulary and grammar.

slide8

The subject of the sentence with the gerund can become a possessive adjective (e.g., my, her, his, their)

slide9

The “subject” of a gerund may be found in the sentence, or you may have to use logic and your world knowledge.

What’s the subject of the gerund in each sentence below?

    • Reading“The Effort Effect” made me think about the difference between memorizing and critical thinking.
    • Their learning was affected by studying in the United States.
    • She thanked her students for working so hard.
    • Memorizing is not as important in the United States.
slide10

Often there is a cause-effect relationship.

Ex. If you change your perspective on intelligence, it may help you learn better.

Changing your perspective on intelligence may help you learn better.

abstract nouns
Abstract Nouns
  • Another way to discuss complex relationships between ideas is to take verbs or adjectives and turn them into nouns. By doing so, you increase the number of ideas you can include in one clause or sentence.

Ex. She reflected on her beliefs about learning. This caused her to recognize that she needed to change them.

Her reflection on her beliefs about learning caused her to recognize that she needed to change them.

NOTShe reflected on her beliefs about learning caused her to recognize that she needed to change them.

grammar issues with abstract nouns
Grammar issues with abstract nouns
  • The subject of the sentence with the adjective or verb can become a possessive adjective (e.g., my, her, his, their)

Ex. He depended on Google Translator. It stopped him from learning.

His dependence on Google Translator stopped him from learning.

slide14

Abstract nouns also usually keep the partners of the verbs and adjectives they are derived from.

EX. He was familiar with the topic. That contributed to our discussion.

His familiarity with the topic contributed to our discussion.

slide15

When you change a transitive verb with a direct object into an abstract noun, you must use of with the abstract noun.

EX. They discussed the problem. It lasted for 3 hours.

Their discussion of the problem lasted for 3 hours.

slide16

When you change an adjective to an abstract noun, human subjects become possessive and non-human subjects become part of of-phrases.*

Ex. We liked it. The doctor was reliable.

We liked the doctor’s reliability.

Ex. An earthquake is possible. It made us worry.

The possibility of an earthquake made us worry.

*If the human subject is 3 words or longer, we usually use the of-phrase.

Ex. We liked the reliability of our friend’s doctor.

let s practice1
Let’s Practice!
  • But first…. A quiz!!