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  1. #1
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    Question Accused of + verb

    Hi all

    My flatmate and I (both teaching but relatively new) are clearly having a mental meltdown. We can't work out, or rather we can't explain clearly, why "accused of" is followed by either the present participle or having + the past participle.

    John was accused of breaking Jane's radio.
    John was accused of having broken Jane's radio.

    What's the difference? How can we explain to our students the use of the different verbs to mean exactly the same thing?

    If anyone can give us an idiot-proof explanation, we'd be very grateful!

    Thanks.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 08-Dec-2009 at 22:09. Reason: Error in content

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    Re: Accused of + verb

    In "accused of breaking," "breaking " is a gerund, not a participle. In "accused of having broken," "having" is the gerundive form of the perfective auxiliary "have." That is, both "-ing" forms are gerunds.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Accused of + verb

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Hi all

    My flatmate and I (both teaching but relatively new) are clearly having a mental meltdown. We can't work out, or rather we can't explain clearly, why "accused of" is followed by either the present participle or having + the past participle.

    John was accused of breaking Jane's radio.
    John was accused of having broken Jane's radio.

    What's the difference? How can we explain to our students the use of the different verbs to mean exactly the same thing?

    If anyone can give us an idiot-proof explanation, we'd be very grateful!

    Thanks.
    There's no idiot-proof answer for a complicated situation like this.
    I'd tell them that it is not rare to come across two sentences which have a different tense form but the same meaning.
    "I go to Paris tomorrow. I am going to Paris tomorrow"
    "I like to swim. I like swimming".

    It probably also happens in Spanish, and some of your brighter students may be able to give you examples. Once they realise that you can say the same thing in two different ways in Spanish, they won't be as shocked when they come across examples in English.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Accused of + verb

    Quote Originally Posted by gabber View Post
    In "accused of breaking," "breaking " is a gerund, not a participle. In "accused of having broken," "having" is the gerundive form of the perfective auxiliary "have." That is, both "-ing" forms are gerunds.
    Thanks - interestingly, when I first posted the question, I referred to the word after accused of as the gerund, but my flatmate insisted it was the present participle, so I went back in and changed my post! If nothing else, I can now feel slightly smug!

    But thanks to both of you for your input!

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