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Thread: spread

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default spread

    Dear teachers,


    Mary often stays up, reviewing her lessons, books_________ all over the desk.


    a. spread b. spreading

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang


  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: spread

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,


    Mary often stays up, reviewing her lessons, books_________ all over the desk.


    a. spread b. spreading

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Either is possible, but "spread" is probably expected - it would be more common.
    However, the books could be spread over the desk, or they could be spreading over the desk.

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spread

    Hi, Raymott,

    This is independent element. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  4. #4
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spread

    Dear Raymott,

    I think this is independent element. If it is, shouldn't it be "books being spread all over the desk"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: spread

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear Raymott,

    I think this is independent element. If it is, shouldn't it be "books being spread all over the desk"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    I don't know what you mean by "independent element".
    spread: Someone has spread the books over the desk, hence they are spread.
    spreading: Someone has put a lot of books on the desk, and they are spreading [themselves] over the desk.

  6. #6
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spread

    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. This is what I mean as (actually what I was taught as) "independent element":
    The girl was walking along the street, her dog following her.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: spread

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. This is what I mean as (actually what I was taught as) "independent element":
    The girl was walking along the street, her dog following her.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Yes, but I'm not sure what usefulness that term has. Anyway, it's not generally known. And calling it an independent element doesn't indicate whether 'spread' or 'spreading' is right - or anything else that I can see. (Note that my clause after the dash is also an independent element, as is this parenthesis. What does it actually define?)

  8. #8
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spread

    Dear Raymott,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. As far as I know both "spread" and "spreading" are correct in this sentence it is fine.
    I think when I asked the question whether it should be "being spread" I was thinking of independent element. Now I think you are right independent element doesn't indicate anything.

    Jiang

  9. #9
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: spread

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,


    Mary often stays up, reviewing her lessons, books_________ all over the desk.


    a. spread b. spreading

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Sorry, but "spreading" is a stretch (no pun intended) for me in the context posted, especially "....and they are spreading [themselves] over the desk". Scary, don't you think?


  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: spread

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Sorry, but "spreading" is a stretch (no pun intended) for me in the context posted, especially "....and they are spreading [themselves] over the desk". Scary, don't you think?

    I agree. "Books spreading over the desk" sounds as if they are in the process of moving across the desk, covering a wider and wider area. As far as I know, books don't move of their own volition so I agree that "spreading" is a stretch.

    Mary often stays up, reviewing her lessons, and while she does this, her books are spread all over the desk.

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