There is a question that says: Find the mistake:

Despite being important, he forgot the laptop at home.

The answer says: Despite its importance... or Despite the laptop importance...

I do not know if this answer is correct or why ? I think the sentence is ok.

Edit: why does not the sentence sound like : Despite being poor, he was happy?

  • 4
    The cited text is effectively a dangling participle. The referent of being important should be the first noun that follows the fronted" parenthetical clause (he, in this case), but obviously that doesn't work here since it's the laptop that's important, not "him". Compare with Despite being careful, he forgot the laptop, where there's no problem because it's him who's careful, not the later-mentioned laptop. Personally, I don't like Despite the laptop importance with no possessive. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 22 '17 at 16:25
  • FumbleFingers is correct. The error is that the word "important" is attached to the wrong thing. As written, the sentence means that important men are not expected to forget laptops. The corrected versions move importance from the man to his laptop. – David42 Jun 22 '17 at 16:44

"Despite being important, he forgot the laptop at home." means " despite the fact that he was important, he forgot the laptop at home. But it doesn't make sense here. You can say as follows :

1) Despite the fact that the laptop was important, he forgot it at home.

"Despite being poor, he was happy " means " despite the fact that he was poor, he was happy. " And it's perfectly correct.

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