I'm proofreading a novel and the author keeps overusing the word 'had' where he could use a more descriptive word and then adding '-ing' to the verb. It's not grammatically incorrect, but it's a digression from his usual style which is otherwise pretty good and it sticks out whenever he does it.
What I want to ask is how can I properly explain to him WHY he should find another form for these instances? At present all I can say is that it's jarring to read and that he could find better variations.
I'm versed in essential grammar, but I'm unsure how to properly describe the form of verb he's using and why it doesn't work that well.
Some more examples:
- "The connection had the clamps outside retracting." (IMO should be "The connection caused the clamps outside to retract")
- "A quick turn on the spot had him avoiding the impact." (IMO should be "A quick turn on the spot enabled him to avoid the impact")
- "His comment had alarm bells ringing in her head." (IMO should be "Alarm bells rang in her head at his comment.")
Is the verb a gerund in these examples? Gerunds have always eluded me and I'm patchy in that area. If this is what I'm dealing with here, I'd like to understand them properly so I can explain things to him. If it's something else, I appreciate any/all advice.
Thanks in advance.