Clarify gerunds and participles#

Participles are verbs that end in -ed or -ing and act as modifiers. Gerunds are verbs that end in -ing and act as nouns. Both types of words are useful and acceptable, but they can cause confusion if they are misplaced in a sentence. For example, the word meeting can be a gerund or a participle (or even a noun) depending on its placement in a sentence. When you use gerunds and participles, ensure that the meaning is clear.

Use

Avoid

A job can include metadata that schedules the program to run at a specified date and time.

A job can include scheduling metadata that enables the program to run at a specified date and time.

Public Cloud is infrastructure that consists of shared resources, deployed on a self-service basis over the Internet.

Public Cloud is infrastructure consisting of shared resources, deployed on a self-service basis over the Internet.

Test the certificate by using a browser to connect to your server.

Test the certificate using a browser to connect to your server.

When you use a load balancer with a public-facing IP address, this address becomes the IP address of your website.

When using a load balancer with a public-facing IP address, this address becomes the IP address of your website.

The last example illustrates a dangling modifier. In the “Avoid” example, using doesn’t have a subject, so the implied subject is address, which is incorrect. If the implied subject isn’t correct, you must revise the sentence to provide a subject for the modifying phrase.

The titles of tutorial or high-level process articles or topics usually start with a gerund. Titles have less context than sentences, so you have to be especially careful to ensure that the meaning is clear.

Use

Avoid

Options for editing

or

Editing of options

Editing options

Billing for services

Billing services

Changing the DNS settings on Windows

Changing DNS settings on Windows

Changing a password

Changing passwords