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I run into a question as shown below studying an exam held in my country:

Fill the blank.

The passengers ---- the announcement of the cancelled flight for the second time groaned audibly.

A) heard
B) to hear
C) to be hearing
D) to have heard
E) having heard

The answer is E option. But I didn't get why the answer is not B or D. What is the difference in meaning?

  • This is a fairly unnatural sentence, especially when written without commas. In fact, B, C, and D are also arguably grammatically valid, but even more unnatural than E, and B&C, D, and E could all mean different things. – choster Sep 12 at 17:48
  • As a native BrE speaker I have never heard B, C or D, they don't make sense as written. You could use A provided you inserted an "and". "... time and groaned audibly". As it stands the only one that works is E, but even then, as choster says, it at least needs some punctuation. – Peter Jennings Sep 13 at 11:42
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The passengers ---- the announcement of the cancelled flight for the second time groaned audibly.

A) heard
B) to hear
C) to be hearing
D) to have heard
E) having heard

The way I usually check it:

We have a part that says what the passengers did - "groaned audibly" and the explanation of why they did so.

So what I usually do is reconstruct the sentence as follows:

  • The passengers groaned audibly ___ the announcement...

In this case once I do a check of all the possible options I can see that only one option is possible and it is E.

"A" can't work since we get two consecutive verbs "Passengers heard it groaned".

"B" is grammatically correct but makes no sense "Passengers to hear it groaned".

"C" is plain incorrect "Passengers to be hearing it groaned"

"D" is definitely incorrect too "Passengers to have heard it groaned". I've never encountered such a usage of the infinitive clause.

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