A Gerundocracy

I need Anna Rappe’s or DK Byrnes’s help on this one. It’s kinda embarrassing that Anna is Swedish, lives in Sweden, and for sure knows more about English language grammar than me. And no, she didn’t learn any of it in the 10th grade World History course I taught her at the International Community School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia back in the days of Mengistu.

More from today’s Twitterverse.

A.J. Bauer, “Biden, Blinken, Yellen — what is this, a gerundocracy?” Followed by Alison L. Gillespie, “This is geekiest grammar joke I have ever seen on Twitter and everyone thinks it’s about ageism.”

She’s right about me at least, I did have to read it twice before I realized it wasn’t ageist.

A gerontocracy is a state, society, or group governed by old people. A gerund is a verb that morphs into a noun when you add “ing”.

But all of Bauer’s examples end in “en”. If they ended in “ing” I’d muster a chuckle. Consequently, I’m left wondering what exactly is the joke.

Postscript: This just in! The Good Wife drops some knowledge. . . “I think it’s not the spelling that makes it a gerund in his case. It’s the sound when you say it- like ‘She was yellin’ loud enough for the neighbors to hear!'” 

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