Author Topic: A confusing English grammar test  (Read 10886 times)

royljc

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A confusing English grammar test
« on: November 30, 2010, 08:03:51 AM »
Hi, Joe,

I'm running into a confusing question shown below. Can you tell me why selection a) is the correct answer? I have not seen "It being a rainy day, we had to abandon the match." this type of sentence before. Thanks in advance.
 
_______ a rainy day, we had to abandon the match.
a) It being
b) Being
c) Having been
d) It been
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 07:37:32 PM by Joe Carillo »

Joe Carillo

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Re: A confusing English grammar test
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 01:56:04 PM »
The correct answer to the above filling-the-blank question is “(a) It being.” In the sentence “It being a rainy day, we had to abandon the match,” the pronoun “it” is used as the subject of a sentence that has the progressive form of “be” as the verb and “a rainy day” as subject complement. It has practically the same sense as “This being a rainy day, we had to abandon the match,” with the pointing adjective “this” taking the place of “it.”

But why is “it being” the correct answer in that sentence? It’s because it’s the only answer that will make sense for that sentence. Answer choice “(b) Being” is wrong because in the sentence “Being a rainy day, we had to abandon the match,” the modifying phrase “being a rainy day” would be a dangling modifier; it could not logically modify the pronoun “we” in the main clause. Answer “(c) Having been” is also wrong because “Having been a rainy day” is similarly a dangling modifier, with no noun to logically modify the subject or the main clause of the sentence. And answer choice “(d) It been” is also wrong because it wrongly uses the present perfect for “be,” which is “has been,” not “been” alone. (Even if “has been” is used in that sentence, the sentence “It has been a rainy day, we had to abandon the match” would still be grammatically and structurally wrong because it’s a run-on or fused sentence. The correct construction would be “It has been a rainy day, so we had to abandon the match.” The coordinating conjunction “so” is needed for the sentence to make sense.)  

We must take note that the “it” in the correct answer for the sentence in question is an authentic neuter pronoun that refers to the noun “day.” This is in contrast to the expletive “it” in the sentence “It is raining, so we had to abandon the match.” Here, “it” is a syntactic expletive, a filler subject used by the impersonal verb “is” to express a condition or action without reference to an agent. As such, “it” performs a syntactic role that contributes nothing to meaning.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 12:33:23 PM by Joe Carillo »