Grammar, Shoes, and Marathons

Hi Jonathan,

I wore out my running shoes from running a marathon.

Running a marathon wore out my running shoes.

My running shoes wore out from/after a marathon.

Are these sentences all correct and commonly used?

Let’s take them one at a time …

#1. “I wore out my running shoes from running a marathon.”

Almost correct. Think of the pattern, “<someone> <did something> (while) <doing something else>.”

You should not use “from”.

This form is correct and clear. The focus is on a consequence (to you and your running shoes) of running a marathon.

#2. “Running a marathon wore out my running shoes.”

This is a little colloquial. You’re dropping a word, which makes it sound like the shoes are running the marathon.

A more complete form would be “My running a marathon wore out my running shoes.”

Or even “Me running a marathon wore out my running shoes” can be considered grammatically correct, although I don’t like this one as much because it puts the focus on the actor alone, “Me”, rather than the actor+activity, “My running”.

The focus in this form is the shoes, answering the question: “What wore out your running shoes?”

#3. “My running shoes wore out from/after a marathon.”
This is a passive voice form since you have removed the actor completely.

Let’s split it up into the two versions and discuss them separately …
#3A: “My running shoes wore out from a marathon.”

You’ll hear this form colloquially.

But since we’re using “wore out”, simple past, we should either refer to the time period when it happened or the activity (as V+ing) that was taking place:
“My running shoes wore out running a marathon.”

This would be similar to #1, but in a passive form.

If we want to merely imply the activity without having to explicitly mention it, we need to talk about the current condition of the shoes, using the PP form as an adjective:
“My running shoes are worn out from (running) a marathon.”

Both of these forms are focusing on the shoes and their state or condition, answering the question: “How are your running shoes?”
(or, more clearly, “What is the condition of your running shoes?”)

#3B: “My running shoes wore out after a marathon.”

This suggests that the activity that wore out the shoes happened _after_ the marathon.

It wasn’t running the marathon that did it.

While this is grammatically correct, it would be unusual for the meaning to be what you intended.







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