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    #1

    could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    I’m trying a synthesis exercise and worked out two possible answers to question below.
    Are both grammatically correct or only one of them? I'm wondering if there is any difference between the two sentences (A) and (B) with different tenses used.

    Question: Alison could not pass her driving test. She had taken it for the third time. (the connector given is ‘despite’ and its position cannot be changed)

    (A) Alison could not pass her driving test despite having taken it for the third time. (May I know what kind of tense is 'having taken'?)

    (B) Alison could not pass her driving test despite taking it for the third time. (May I know is 'taking' here a gerund?)

    Thank you!

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    I would use 'having taken', the perfect gerund, because it happened before the act in the main clause.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    In real life most native speakers would use 'taking it'.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Quote Originally Posted by Oceanlike View Post
    (May I know is 'taking' here a gerund?)
    It must be a gerund because 'despite' is a preposition.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    I would use either:

    Alison [just] couldn't pass her test despite having taken it three times.
    Alison [just] couldn't pass her test despite taking it three times.

    The inclusion of the optional "just" that I have shown above expresses a degree of frustration, either on the part of Alison or of the writer.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I would use 'having taken', the perfect gerund...
    Oh I have never heard of the term 'perfect gerund'

    I'm still struggling with clearly identifying a gerund when I see or think that I see one

    I have so much to learn....

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Quote Originally Posted by Oceanlike View Post
    Oh I have never heard of the term 'perfect gerund'
    My sister, an English teacher, had never heard 'perfect infinitive' until I told her.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    My sister, an English teacher, had never heard 'perfect infinitive' until I told her.
    For a long while now, oftentimes I still find myself confused between a gerund and a present participle. I have been trying to find a way to be able to rightly identify them, but to date, there is still always an element of confusion about the two

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    #9

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Most native English-speakers happily spend a lifetime without knowing or caring about the difference.

    Is there a good reason why you need to label -ing words?
    Is somebody forcing you to do so?
    Are you failing exams because of it?
    Does it prevent your understanding of the language?
    Have you nothing more important to worry about?

    Life's too short, Oceanlike. It's not a big deal.

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    #10

    Re: could not pass her driving test despite taking it

    Some grammarians (e.g., Quirk et al in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language and Huddleston and Pullum in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) have come to the conclusion that there is little point in trying to distinguish between gerunds and present participles. For this relief much thanks.

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