saying it was the only thing she knew how to cook, and she rarely made it well

4

Narrator: Her husband Carl always teased her about her macaroni and cheese, saying it was the only thing she knew how to cook, and she rarely made it well.

TV Series: Desperate Housewives

I don't know why the narrator used the -ing form of the verb "saying". How it would be like if the narrator didn't want to use the -ing form of the verb?

sami

Posted 2019-01-18T16:40:02.620

Reputation: 467

Answers

5

That non-finite form saying expresses the idea that over the course of their relationship ("Carl always teased her") he would say those words, that mac-and-cheese was the only thing she knew how to cook: those are words he said when teasing her.

If you wanted to use a tensed form of the verb to say to express the same idea, you would have to say something like whenever or often in combination with the verb:

He always teased her about her cooking and often said it was the only thing she knew how to cook.

or whenever

He always teased her about her cooking and whenever he did so he said it was the only thing she knew how to cook.

or always

He always teased her about her cooking and he always said it was the only thing she knew now to cook.

Tᴚoɯɐuo

Posted 2019-01-18T16:40:02.620

Reputation: 116 610

1In this case, it could be that the non-finite saying matches the always, but a single instance of teasing could have been described with the non-finite verb, too. E.g. One time, her husband teased her, saying that dinner tasted more like wackaroni and sleeze. – Juhasz – 2019-01-18T17:24:52.263

Agreed. when teasing her would cover both cases. The action of the non-finite clause attends the action of the main clause. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2019-01-18T17:32:24.837

Thank you so much for your reply. He always teased her about her cooking and whenever he or she?(it is confusing) did so he said it was the only thing she knew how to cook. – sami – 2019-01-18T17:49:57.013

Carl is her husband, so Carl is the "he" referred to. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2019-01-18T17:58:49.503

@samsam FWIW, one could use "she" there, making the statement "He always teased her about her cooking and whenever she did so he said [whatever]". In that case, it would mean that whenever she cooked, he said [whatever], as opposed to Tᴚoɯɐuo's version which means that whenever he teased her about her cooking, he said [whatever]. – A C – 2019-01-18T21:14:58.210

@A.C. her cooking does not provide the right kind of antecedent for **whenever she did so**. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2019-01-18T21:35:59.667

4

A very useful pattern in English for/in writing.

  • They loved the outdoors, describing it as a healing experience.

A gerund can be used after a statement to qualify it.

The gerund phrase can be used as a substitute for "and". It can be more elegant than:

They loved the outdoors and described it as a healing experience.

  • The journalists spent all day at the conference, reading press releases and drinking tea. [versus: and read press release and drank tea]

  • The lady disliked cats, complaining that they scratched her furniture. [versus: and complained they scratched her furniture.]

Lambie

Posted 2019-01-18T16:40:02.620

Reputation: 26 929