Cambridge dictionary gives this example

We've just spent $1.9 million on improving our computer network.

I am aware of that usage, in the standard form, spend sth on doing sth.

This post (https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorjones/how-i-fell-back-in-love-with-swimming-and-my-body) starts with

After over a decade spent avoiding pools, swimsuits, and public showers, I've found my way back to the water and all the reasons I loved it as a child.

I guess that means the author spent a lot time (over a decade) on avoiding swimming, is my understanding right? In other words, is "spend on doing" a contraction form of "spend time on doing"?


No. You cannot omit the "time" argument. But you don't have to use the word time: you can use a period of time.

In this case the "time" spent is a decade. The writer spent a decade avoiding pools etc; but they turned it round to make the decade the subject, and relegate the rest to a reduced relative clause:

... a decade [that was] spent avoiding pools ...

  • Your answer is very helpful. Thank you. I just updated my OP, where the 1st example uses "on doing". It seems that the "on" is optional, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Feb 24 '20 at 0:17
  • The word "on" is indeed optional. The "on" argument (whether time, money, effort, etc) is not.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 24 '20 at 9:30

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