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"The people in the west have been considering (separate/separating) themselves from the rest of the country." Which one is correct and why?

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Correct answer

separating

Why?

Let's ask, "What have the people in the west been considering"?

Since we're looking for "what" (not where, why, etc.), we need a noun to answer that question.

So in this case, we need a noun form of "separate". "Separate" has a noun form--its gerund--which is "separating".

Side note

Another noun form of "separate" is "separation". In this case, the sentence would read, "The people in the west have been considering a separation of themselves from the rest of the country." However, the sentence with "...separating themselves.." sounds more natural.

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