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  1. #1
    Nefertiti is offline Member
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    Default survive + (prep.)

    "Can a rabbit survive eating just lettuce and drinking water?"

    1. Is 'survive' transitive or intransitive? Are 'eating' and drinking gerunds acting as the objects of 'survive'? Please explain your answer.

    2. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. can a rabbit survive on eating just lettuce and drinking water?)
    ______________________

    "Bacteria actually survive eating nothing but antibiotics."

    3. Is 'survive' transitive or intransitive? Is 'eating' a gerund acting as the object of 'survive'? Please explain your answer.

    4. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. Bacteria actually survive on eating nothing but antibiotics.
    _______________________

    " The family are struggling to survive on very little money."

    5. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is removed after the word survive? (i.e. The family are struggling to survive very little money.)
    ________________________

    "The front passengers were lucky to survive the accident."

    6. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. "The front passengers were lucky to survive on the accident."
    ________________________

    "The prime minister succeeded in surviving the challenge to his authority."

    7. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. The prime minister succeeded in surviving on the challenge to his authority.)

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: survive + (prep.)

    Hello Nef,

    "Can a rabbit survive eating just lettuce and drinking water?"
    1. Is 'survive' transitive or intransitive?Are 'eating' and drinking gerunds acting as the objects of 'survive'?

    The sentence is ambiguous. You can interpret "survive" as transitive, with the meaning "remain alive after the experience of", in which case the clause "eating...water" is its object. Or you can interpret it as intransitive, with the meaning "remain alive", in which case "eating" and "drinking" are participles with "rabbit" as their subject.

    2. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. can a rabbit survive on eating just lettuce and drinking water?)

    You can say "...survive by eating...", or "...survive on just...", but not "survive on eating".
    ______________________

    "Bacteria actually survive eating nothing but antibiotics."

    3., 4. as above
    _______________________

    The family are struggling to survive on very little money."
    5. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is removed after the word survive? (i.e. The family are struggling to survive very little money.)

    In the original sentence, "survive" is intransitive; if you omit "on", it becomes transitive, as in my first answer ("...survive the experience of having very little money..."). However, the sentence would then be quite unidiomatic.

    ________________________

    The front passengers were lucky to survive the accident.

    6. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. "The front passengers were lucky to survive on the accident."

    No, you couldn't add "on".

    ________________________

    The prime minister succeeded in surviving the challenge to his authority.

    7. Would it be the same if the preposition 'on' is added after the word survive?
    (i.e. The prime minister succeeded in surviving on the challenge to his authority.)

    as for #6.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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