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Rewriting Gerundives as Finite Verbs
and Finite Verbs as Gerundives
from Heidi by Johanna Spyri

          Note that we are dealing with questions of style -- not correctness. These sentences can be de-combined into very simple (some would say "immature" sentences), or they can be rewritten in different ways that change the focus or even the logical relationships between ideas. Finite verbs tend to bring ideas to the surface -- and shine light on them. Gerundives turn the verbs into modifiers -- secondary information. Subordinate clauses, some would argue, not only create a focus mid-way between finite verbs in main clauses and gerundives, but the subordinating conjunctions also add information about the logical relationships between the ideas in the clauses.
The following key gives only some of the numerous possibilities for changing the style and focus.

A. Rewriting Gerundives as Finite Verbs

Directions: Rewrite each sentence by changing gerundives into finite verbs.  

1. Miss Rottenmeier, slowly getting up, approached the newcomers.

Separate Main Clauses:  Miss Rottenmeier slowly got up. She approached the newcomers.
Compound Finite Verbs: Miss Rottenmeier slowly got up and approached the newcomers.
Subordinate Clause: Miss Rottenmeier, [who got up slowly,] approached the newcomers. [Puts the focus on "approached the newcomers."]
Subordinate Clause: Miss Rottenmeier got up slowly [before she approached the newcomers]. [Puts the focus on "approached the newcomers."]
2. The grandfather, keeping his word, took Heidi down the following day with the same instructions as before.
Compound Finite Verbs: The grandfather kept his word and took Heidi down the following day with the same instructions as before.
Subordinate Clause: The grandfather, [who kept his word,] took Heidi down the following day with the same instructions as before. [Puts the focus on "took Heidi."]
Subordinate Clause: The grandfather, [who took Heidi down the following day with the same instructions as before,] kept his word. [Puts the focus on "kept his word."]
3. Heidi, grasping the grandmother's outstretched hands, sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet and began to chat.
Compound Finite Verbs: Heidi grasped the grandmother's outstretched hands, sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet and began to chat.
Subordinate Clause: Heidi, [who grasped the grandmother's outstretched hands and sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet], began to chat. [Puts the focus on "began to chat."]
Subordinate Clause: Heidi grasped the grandmother's outstretched hands [as she sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet and began to chat]. [Puts the focus on "grasped the grandmother's outstretched hands."]
Subordinate Clause: Heidi [who grasped the grandmother's outstretched hands and began to chat] sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet. [Puts the focus on "sat."]
4. Following the maid, they found themselves in the study.
Compound Finite Verbs: They followed the maid and found themselves in the study.
Subordinate Clause:  [As they followed the maid] they found themselves in the study. [Puts the focus on "found themselves."]
Subordinate Clause:  They followed the maid [until they found themselves in the study]. [Puts the focus on "followed the maid."]
5. She quickly picked some fragrant herbs and holding them under the animal's nose, she said soothingly: "Come, come, Thistlefinch, and be sensible."
Compound Finite Verbs: She quickly picked some fragrant herbs, held them under the animal's nose, and said soothingly: "Come, come, Thistlefinch, and be sensible."
Subordinate Clause:  [As she quickly picked some fragrant herbs and held them under the animal's nose], she said soothingly: "Come, come, Thistlefinch, and be sensible." [Puts the focus on "said."]
B. Rewriting  Finite Verbs as Gerundives

Directions: Rewrite each sentence by changing finite verbs into gerundives. 

1. Sebastian did not dare to show his rage otherwise and noisily opened the folding doors.

Sebastian, not daring to show his rage otherwise, noisily opened the folding doors. [Puts the focus on "noisily opened."]

Noisily opening the folding doors, Sebastian did not dare to show his rage otherwise. [Puts the focus on "did not dare."]

[Doesn't the first version suggest that "noisily opened" is Sebastian's way of showing his rage, whereas the second version obscures this connection?]

2. The housekeeper collected her wits after the great fright, and she then called for the servants.
Having collected her wits after the great fright, the housekeeper called for the servants. [Puts the focus on "called."]

The housekeeper collected her wits after the great fright before calling for the servants. [Puts the focus on "collected her wits," but it goes beyond the directions by making "calling" a gerund that functions as the object of the preposition "before."]

3. Miss Rottenmeier, who had overheard the scene, approached the sobbing child.
Miss Rottenmeier, having overheard the scene, approached the sobbing child. [Puts the focus on "approached."]
4. Heidi quickly dried her tears and choked down her sobs.
Quickly drying her tears, Heidi choked down her sobs. [Puts the focus on "choked down."]

Heidi, choking down her sobs, quickly dried her tears. [Puts the focus on "dried her tears."]

5. When Peter arrived in the village late that day, he saw a large disputing crowd.
Arriving in the village late that day, Peter saw a large disputing crowd.