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I do not really understand the use of participles in these kind of sentences.

1- We spent the first month just debating what to call ourselves.

2- You had no business reading my private letters.

3- I have a job bussing tables at the coffe shop.

Are all of the sentences above missing out "in"

1'- We spent the first month just in debating what to call ourselves.

2'- You had no business in reading my private letter

3'- I have a job in bussing tables at the coffe shop.


4- I work at the coffee shop bussing tables.

I think the latter one okay to me(4). My interperation is something like that for the use of participle:

Bussing tables is part of working at the coffe shop.". In the process of working at the coffe shop, I am bussing the tables.

But I can't understand the use of the participle in the other sentences.

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These are correct without "in" and sound much more natural that way. These examples are using gerunds, not participles. To see that, note that the first two would work equally well with the infinitive:

We spent the first month just to debate what to call ourselves.

You had no business to read my private letters.

  • Thank you, could you tell me what fuction of gerunds are these examples using? I have never come across something explains that kind of usage of gerunds. + Third example still seems awkward to me :( – Talha Özden Jun 25 at 7:25

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