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I encountered an exercise on an app today, which asks me to choose a right word for the sentence:

_____ to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.

A. To be determined

B. Determined

C. Being determined

D. Determining

I thought the answer was obviously B but the app says it's D. The given explanation says the active voice should be used here and hence the choice D. But I don't really trust that answer more than myself so I'd like a second opinion from a native speaker. Thanks in advance!

2 Answers 2

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Either B or C would be equally fine here. D doesn't sound as good.

"Determined" can be seen as an adjective here, just like "eager," and both B and C sound perfectly fine regardless of whether I use "determined" or "eager":

Eager to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.

Being eager to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.

Determined to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.

Being determined to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.

(The meaning of "eager" isn't quite the same as the meaning of "determined," though.)

According to the Wiktionary page "determine", the word "determining" can mean "resolving" or "intending," so option D also makes sense. But I've never actually heard the word "determining" used that way before; when I first saw option D, I was sure that it was a mistake. I would use the word "resolving" instead of "determining":

Resolving to make a good beginning, these new-comers did all that they could to get themselves well-prepared.


Side note:

I don't think the phrases "determined to make a good beginning" and "being determined to make a good beginning" are in the passive voice. The first phrase can't be in the passive voice because it doesn't have a form of the verb "to be." The second phrase could conceivably be in the passive voice, but it makes more sense to see it as a stative use of the word "being," along with the adjective "determined." The active voice of this phrase would be "[something] determining them to make a good beginning."

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At a first glance B looks like a correct choice. Being that the active voice is being used, D portrays that they are currently determining/ making a decision to make a good beginning.

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  • I don't know...would you say that D is better than B without further context? Also, given that the verb in the sentence is "did", I don't think "currently determining" makes much sense.
    – trisct
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:28
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    Choice D is not grammatical. Choice B or possibly C would be OK.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:32
  • @ColleenV That's what I thought. Can you elaborate a little, grammar-wise, so that I can also convince other?
    – trisct
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:36
  • B and D can be correct, depending on what your trying to say. In this case they are deciding to make a good decision therefore D is correct. B would be used if they would be in the state of being determined. D is showing that they are doing the act of determining.
    – Nicki
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:39
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    'Determined' because did all they could. It describes a past event (it's not 'these new-comers do all they can') Sep 4, 2019 at 20:33

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