This sentence was on our test recently:

IBM was _____ the world's largest supplier of computer chips and software, but now Intel and Microsoft have taken its place.

The options were:

A. bound for
B. involved in
C. engaged in
D. engaged to

I think the answer is B, involved in, because the other three options seem wrong, but I just can't see anyone using "involved in" in that kind of way. So I want to ask if there's a usage of "involved in" that I just haven't heard of.

Thank you

  • involved in does not make good sense there. Perhaps evolving into? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 7 '17 at 10:04
  • 1
    @YiMing Can you tell us what the other options were? – Ronald Sole Apr 7 '17 at 10:38
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    @TRomano, evolving into does not sound likely. IBM just sold its semiconductor production facility for $1.5 billion. Contrast that with Intel's valuation of $162.9 billion. buying from might work... – JavaLatte Apr 7 '17 at 10:41
  • @YiMing, did the question say what it is supposed to mean? Details, please!!! ell.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/439/… – JavaLatte Apr 7 '17 at 10:44
  • @JavaLatte: We don't know when that sentence was written or what time period it concerns. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 7 '17 at 11:50

IBM was ___ the world's largest supplier of computer chips and software, but now Intel and Microsoft have taken its place.

Looking at the full text of the question and the options shown in the image in the comments, I would say the correct answer to the question is actually A: bound for.

See definition #1 of bound from dictionary.com:

  1. going or intending to go; on the way to; destined (usually followed by for)

A few decades ago, IBM was one of the biggest companies in the computing industry. The sentence tell us that IBM was so big, in fact, that it was on its way to being the world's largest supplier of computer chips and software. But over time, both Microsoft and Intel outpaced IBM in growth. Intel became an industry leader in chipmaking, and Microsoft became an industry leader in software. That left IBM farther back in the pack of the industry, where they have remained to this day – still a large, successful company, but no longer growing so quickly as to be on their way to becoming a world leader in either category. (I'm not sure IBM even makes computer chips or software these days, actually.)


No, it does not mean that. That sentence doesn't really make sense: involved in is followed by an activity. In the sentence you provided, the second part is a noun phrase. In other words, you could say “IBM was involved in supplying computer chips,” but not “IBM was involved in the world's largest computer chip supplier.”

There are a number of phrases which could be used to fill in the blank, depending on what the sentence is supposed to mean. Considering that IBM is known for making computers rather than the components inside them, it's likely that you're looking for something along the lines of buying from, as JavaLatte suggested.

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