[Grammar] BESIDES

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wace

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I understand the preposition BESIDES precedes a gerund:

BESIDES doing the cooking I look after the garden.

Yet, I recently came across a sentence in an American website containing the preposition BESIDES followed by a bare infinitive:

What else do you do besides take care of the children?

Was it a mistake or is the infinitive justified by the verb DO which comes right before the preposition?

Would 'What else did you do besides taking ...?' be just as correct? That's how I would say it.

Thank you
 

TheParser

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I understand the preposition BESIDES precedes a gerund:

BESIDES doing the cooking I look after the garden.

Yet, I recently came across a sentence in an American website containing the preposition BESIDES followed by a bare infinitive:

What else do you do besides take care of the children?

Was it a mistake or is the infinitive justified by the verb DO which comes right before the preposition?

Would 'What else did you do besides taking ...?' be just as correct? That's how I would say it.

Thank you

NOT A TEACHER

(1) "What do you like to do besides swim"?

Source: Understanding Grammar, Paul Roberts.

(2) "What would you like to do besides watch a movie?"

Source: Google result entitled "Relations shown by prepositions --

English Grammar."

(3) "It will give you something to do besides baste the turkey."

Source: Google result entitled "The Grammar Logs #462."
 

Pedroski

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What else do you do besides take care of the children?

What else do you do? (optional adjunct) besides take care of the children? The adjunct is a prepositional phrase, an adverb with sentencial scope over 'What else do you do?'. You can see this by re-arranging the sentence:

What else do you do besides take care of the children?

What else, besides take care of the children, do you do ?

Besides take care of the children, what else do you do ?

I, too, would prefer to use 'taking', because then you clearly have a verbal noun with an object: taking care.

What else do you do besides taking care of the children?

You could replace 'besides' with 'beyond'.
 

wace

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(1) "What do you like to do besides swim"?

Source: Understanding Grammar, Paul Roberts.

(2) "What would you like to do besides watch a movie?"

Source: Google result entitled "Relations shown by prepositions --

English Grammar."

(3) "It will give you something to do besides baste the turkey."

Source: Google result entitled "The Grammar Logs #462."

Thank you for providing such a wealth o examples. Sadly you failed to confirm whether in all of the above sentences the -ing form would have been equally correct.
Thank you very much indeed.
 

wace

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do you do ?

I, too, would prefer to use 'taking', because then you clearly have a verbal noun with an object: taking care.:tick: Good!

What else do you do besides taking care of the children?

.[/QUOTE]


Thank you Pedroski. I suspect the use of the bare infinitive is due to most native speakers' laziness and the widespread tendency to simplify the use of verbs by eliminating 'superfluous' elements. Another example is the double genitive: a friend of my father (which I often hear) instead of a friend of my father's.
 

bhaisahab

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Thank you for providing such a wealth o examples. Sadly you failed to confirm whether in all of the above sentences the -ing form would have been equally correct.
Thank you very much indeed.

(1) "What do you like to do besides swim"? I could just about accept this one, although "swimming" is better.

Source: Understanding Grammar, Paul Roberts.

(2) "What would you like to do besides watch a movie?" In my opinion this is wrong.

Source: Google result entitled "Relations shown by prepositions --

English Grammar."

(3) "It will give you something to do besides baste the turkey." This is wrong IMO.

Source: Google result entitled "The Grammar Logs #462."
 

TheParser

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"So what does a folklorist do besides ASK nosy questions ...?"

from the sophisticated American magazine The New Yorker, cited as

a "somewhat more complex" use of "besides" in the third edition of Fowler's

Modern English Usage (which is touted on its cover as "The acknowledged

authority on English usage").
 

TheParser

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(1) Professor George O. Curme in his scholarly two-volume A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH

LANGUAGE tells us that in older English some conjunctions included:

besides that
apart from the fact that
in addition to the fact that

(2) He gives two quotations (one from 1789 and the other from 1927) using BESIDES

THAT:


I am sure it will give some respectability to your house, BESIDES THAT it will be

much more agreeable than living in a boardinghouse. *** Still we were grateful to

him, for, BESIDES that he showed an example of contentment to us slaves of

unnecessary appetite, he sold vegetables.

(3) The professor adds that those conjunctions

"...can be freely replaced by prepositions or prepositional phrases with the

GERUNDIAL clause."

He gives this example: Besides being rich, she is pretty.

He does NOT give us the original sentence from which this shorter sentence comes.

My guess is that it would be something like:

Besides that she is rich, she is pretty.

(4) It appears that both the bare infinitive and the gerund are correct. Those who

use the infinitive may argue that they are using an abridged clause. Perhaps "What

do you like to do besides swim" is a shorter version of something like: What do you like

to do besides that you do like to swim." In any case, the gerund form seems always to

be correct.
 

Pedroski

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Have you considered the possibility that what you call the bare infinitive is here a noun?

cf 'our take on this is ....'

'the take was over a million'

In my opinion, the reason such constructions sound better wih '-ing' is exactly that: we are more used to adjectives becoming nouns.

To use the Professor's example

Besides being rich, she is pretty.

Besides her being rich, she is pretty.

The s on besides is a genitive s, from the contraction of 'by the side of'
 
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