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  1. #1
    Madeline2000 is offline Newbie
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    Why ...ing form of verb?

    Can anybody tell me why we use the ...ing form of verb here?

    "The teachers are keen on the students taking part in the activities". Is it down to the preposition?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Whenever we use "keen on" and follow it with a verb, the verb takes the -ing form.

    I'm keen on shopping.
    He's keen on swimming.
    They're keen on moving house as soon as possible.

    If you change it to "keen to", it's followed by the bare infinitive.

    I'm keen to shop.
    He's keen to swim.
    They're keen to move house as soon as possible.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    Madeline2000 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Yes I know that following a preposition we use the ..ing form, but...between "keen on" and "taking part" we have " the students", so is this still the case?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    The same rule applies.

    I'm keen on you buying me presents.
    I'm keen for you to buy me presents.

    He's keen on his brother playing for Liverpool.
    He's keen for his brother to play for Liverpool.

    We're keen on our daughter getting into Harvard.
    We're keen for our daughter to get into Harvard.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline2000 View Post
    Yes I know that following a preposition we use the ..ing form, but...between "keen on" and "taking part" we have " the students", so is this still the case?

    Yes, because the words in the middle don't override the fact that it is keen on...taking part.

  6. #6
    Madeline2000 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    The same rule applies.

    I'm keen on you buying me presents.
    I'm keen for you to buy me presents.

    He's keen on his brother playing for Liverpool.
    He's keen for his brother to play for Liverpool.
    Thank you, but as "for" is also a preposition, looking at your examples, it doesn't follow the same rule?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 24-Jan-2021 at 18:05. Reason: Fixed quote box

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline2000 View Post
    Thank you, but as "for" is also a preposition, looking at your examples, it doesn't follow the same rule?
    I simply meant that "keen on" is followed by the -ing form, regardless of the other words in the sentence or their position.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. #8
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm keen on you buying me presents.
    I'm keen for you to buy me presents.

    He's keen on his brother playing for Liverpool.
    He's keen for his brother to play for Liverpool.

    We're keen on our daughter getting into Harvard.
    We're keen for our daughter to get into Harvard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline2000 View Post
    Thank you, but as "for" is also a preposition, looking at your examples, it doesn't follow the same rule?
    You're right—it doesn't.

    I think this is because there's something special about for. Firstly, for, when it functions as complementizer, needs an overt subject. So, if we remove his brother from both clauses:

    He's keen on playing football.
    He's keen for to play football.


    Secondly, I think for can only work with a to-infinitive clause, and never an -ing clause.

    He's keen for his brother to play football.
    He's keen for his brother playing football.

    I might suggest one of the moderators moves this question into the Analysing Sentences forum, with the hope that one of our grammar experts might see it and give a more complete/accurate answer.

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    NOT A TEACHER


    Madeline, I notice that you are a teacher, so I respectfully wish to raise a (minor?) point.

    Some people here in the United States prefer to use the possessive before the gerund (-ing form of the verb). Therefore, they would use an apostrophe in writing: "They are keen on the students' learning English."

    If I use pronouns, maybe the matter may be more clearly understood.

    1. "Mr. Jones does not like HIS marrying his daughter this month." = The possessive emphasizes "marrying." Maybe Mr. Jones feels that the weather will be very bad and dangerous for such a ceremony.

    2. "Mr. Jones does not like HIM marrying his daughter this month." = This sentence means, to some people, that Mr. Jones does not like that young man.

    It is important to note that most people do not follow this "rule." If they were to see No. 2, they would interpret it as No. 1. But I thought that you should be aware of this theory just in case one of your well-read students ever raised the matter with you.


    Source: House and Harman, Descriptive English Grammar (1931 and 1950), page 319.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Why ...ing form of verb?

    My Mother, a grammar traditionalist born in the 1930s, has given up on this "rule" winning out.

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