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    #1

    Why is this sentence incorrect?

    I have seen the below written statement somewhere. There it is said that we should use destroying here in spite of destroy. But i don't understand...why?
    The fire spread quickly, destroy three houses within minutes.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Why this sentence is incorrect?

    Because the present participle 'destroying' is needed to modify 'fire'.

    Not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    Payal Sharma, I have corrected your thread title in post #1. Please note the correct way to ask a question.

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    #4

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Payal Sharma:

    You have already received the answer.

    I just wanted to add a few words that may interest you.


    "The fire spread quickly. It [the fire] destroyed three houses within minutes."

    If you wish to speak and write like that, it's OK.

    But native speakers sometimes prefer to combine those two sentences, so they use the -ing form of the verb:

    "The fire spread quickly, destroying three houses within minutes."

    *****

    Look at these two sentences:

    "I made sure I had the right number. I phoned again."

    A very good book tells us that we can combine those two sentences like this:

    "Making sure I had the right number, I phoned again."
    "I phoned again, making sure I had the right number."

    That book gives this sentence: "She lay awake all night and recalled the events of the day."

    If you wanted to shorten that sentence, you could just say: "She lay awake all night, recalling the events of the day."


    Source: L.G. Alexander, Longman English Grammar (1988).
    Last edited by TheParser; 08-May-2015 at 16:41.

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    #5

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "The fire spread quickly, destroying three houses within minutes."
    "I phoned again, making sure I had the right number."
    'Thus' was omitted before 'destroying'; 'thereby', 'making'.
    Am I right or wrong? Not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    I would say wrong, especially in the second.

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    #7

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    If nothing was omitted before the present participle, could the comma before it be omitted?

    According to this post, the comma is needed as long as 'thus' or 'thereby' is used/omitted before the present participle. Have I understood it wrongly?

    Not a teacher.
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 09-May-2015 at 09:47.

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    #8

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    'Thus' was omitted before 'destroying'; 'thereby', 'making'.
    Am I right or wrong?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Great question!

    I will refrain from giving my opinion, for it might be wrong.

    But I am 99.99% confident about the following:

    "The train fell off the bridge, killing 100 people."

    Surely one would refrain from saying: "Killing 100 people, the train fell off the bridge." That would seem to mean that the train killed 100 people.

    In fact, it was the ACT of falling off the bridge that killed 100 people.

    Thus, one could, indeed, say: "The train fell off the bridge, thus killing 100 people."

    Or: "The train fell off the bridge, an act that killed 100 people."

    As Professor Curme might say, "killing 100 people" does not actually modify anything. (As I said, it cannot modify "train," for the train did not kill the 100 people.) The great professor gives these examples:

    "He mistook me for a friend, so that he caused me some embarrassment."
    "He mistook me for a friend, causing me some embarrassment."
    "He mistook me for a friend, thus causing me some embarrassment."

    The great scholar says that the words after the comma "do not in any way modify the meaning of the principal proposition [statement]."

    In plain English, it means -- I think -- that we are actually dealing with two propositions: "He mistook me for a friend, and it caused me some embarrassment."

    Source: George Oliver Curme, A Grammar of the English Language, Vol. II, 1931, page 293.
    Last edited by TheParser; 09-May-2015 at 13:32.

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    #9

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "The train fell off the bridge, thus killing 100 people."
    'Someone phoned a nearby hospital, thereby saving 10 people.'
    Is 'thereby' used correctly?
    Not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Why is this sentence incorrect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Payal Sharma View Post
    I have seen the below written statement somewhere. There it is said that we should use destroying here instead of destroy. But i don't understand...why?
    The fire spread quickly, destroy three houses within minutes.
    Look up "instead" and "in spite."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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