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"As a result, cell phones are now commonplace, with at least 85 percent of adults in the U.S and the U.K owning one."

Can we use the verb 'own' in the progressive tense? What is the rule behind this? And what does 'with' mean here? Does it mean 'which have/has'?

Source: Focus on Vocabulary 1. Chapter 9

  • As an aside, progressive is an aspect, not tense. :) – user178049 Apr 6 '17 at 11:56
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As a result, cell phones are now commonplace, with at least 85 percent of adults in the U.S and the U.K owning one.

The Original Poster asks if we can use own in progressive ('continuous') constructions. Good question. The answer is no, not usually. The reason for this is that owning something describes a situation or state and not an action. We call verbs like OWN stative verbs. We don't like to use stative verbs in progressive constructions in English:

  • *I am owning a car. (wrong)

However, the clause in the Original Poster's example is not a progressive construction. There is no tensed verb in the clause and there is no auxiliary verb BE before the -ing form.

The preposition with cannot take tensed clauses as a Complement. The verb owning here is a non-finite, tenseless form of the verb, called a gerund-participle.

The preposition with often has a similar meaning to have . Here, however, it just shows that the two clauses are both true at the same time, and offers the 85% as evidence for the fact that cell phones are now commonplace.

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    Thanks for your reply. You meant because of 'with' we use 'own' in the participle form. like I am interested in reading books.? – Mickey Mouse Apr 6 '17 at 9:48
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    @MickeyMouse Yes, that's right. :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Apr 6 '17 at 9:48

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