English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When you have this construct:

. . . is a key factor in the making and controlling of the water.

Should you leave only the last verb in the gerund:

. . . is a key factor in the make and controlling of the water.

share|improve this question
The verb tense I am using is the present participle or the gerund? I would say it is the present participle. – John Assymptoth Feb 27 '11 at 8:03
It's the gerund. You can tell because making and controlling are functioning as nouns. – chaos Feb 27 '11 at 8:24
Alternative to make and control where both words again have the same tense – mplungjan Feb 27 '11 at 10:12
At least you have a conjunction between the two gerunds. I have experienced sentences in which two gerunds occur in a row with nothing between them. Those sentences, while clear in meaning feel so incredibly unnatural and awkward. (I wish I could think of an example now…) – Synetech Mar 1 '11 at 21:11
@Synetech inc. Please do. Now I'm curious. :) – John Assymptoth Mar 2 '11 at 17:32
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You need to say "making and controlling".

What you have there is a parallel structure. A parallel structure is basically when you condense multiple sentences varying in only one item down to a single sentence with a list of the varied items:

I entered the marathon. I entered the decathlon. I entered the pole vault.


I entered the marathon, decathlon, and pole vault.

When you form a parallel structure, all the elements in the parallel MUST be in the same grammatical form: all nouns, all gerunds, all infinitive verbs, all prepositional phrases, etc. No mixing and matching is allowed.

share|improve this answer
I see... Thanks. – John Assymptoth Feb 27 '11 at 17:41

No; the first version is correct.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.