As I've mentioned before, I volunteer two afternoons a week as a writing tutor at our local community college. I deal mostly with young adults who are taking either the remedial writing class, or else the basic freshman English course.
In other words, these young people have a lot of difficulty stringing together more than a few sentences. Most of them are underprivileged kids who went to a substandard high school, and many of them took time off after high school before entering college. A lot of them are also holding down part-time jobs, and some of them even have children, so they don't have a lot of time to spend laboring over their essays, revising them and polishing them up.
I see a lot of essays with sentences that don't have a clear subject and verb, and a lot of them begin, "Being that ..."
So now I tell my students, Do not start a sentence with a word ending in "ing" unless you know what a gerund is. It's just not that easy to use a gerund as the subject of a sentence.
For the record, the word gerund comes from the Latin gerundium, the noun form of the verb gero,
meaning, that which is to be carried out. In other words, a gerund is a
verb that ends in "ing"and functions as a noun. As in: Swimming is good
exercise; or, Visiting friends can be fun.
But in the course of developing my rule-of-thumb, I did a little research and found that others have said it much better than I can. So, being as how I found these quotes, let me offer a few:
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." -- William Arthurd Ward
"I never believe nor disbelieve. If you will excuse my speaking frankly, I mean to observe you closely, and to decide for myself." -- Wilkie Collins
"They cut down elms to build asylums for people driven mad by the cutting down of elms." -- George Barker
"Shooting pinballs is not an art form." -- Bart Simpson
"Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it." -- Langston Hughes
"All talk of winning the people by appealing to their intelligence, of conquering them by impeccable syllogism, is so much moonshine." -- H. L. Mencken
"There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you." -- Peter De Vries
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -- George Bernard Shaw