We will come to sodomy
in a moment. To stagger together through today's column about grammatical possessiveness, you and I must agree on the difference between a gerund and a participle.
Take the word dancing
. It starts out as a form of a verb: "Look, Ma, I'm dancing!
" When that word is used as an adjective to modify a noun -- "look at that dancing bear!" -- it's called a participle.
But when the same word is used as a noun -- "I see the bear, and its dancing
isn't so hot" -- then the word is classified as a gerund. (From the Latin gerundum
, rooted in gerere
, "to bear, to...