I came across a question in an ACT English test:

Their later clocks reflects the Bilys' keen interest in U.S.history, the most notable example____ the American Pioneer History Clock.

I wonder why the only correct one filling the blank must be "being”, not "to be, " since both of them can act as non-predicative.


"Being" works, not "to be", because you need an absolute construction for the sentence to work and be grammatical. To have an absolute construction you need a non-finite clause with a non-finite verb, or non-predicative as you call it, but not all non-finite clauses are absolute constructions. Yes, "being" and "to be" are both non-finite options but for the clause to qualify as an absolute construction you need a participle. Here, "being" is the present participle of the copula "be" and with "being" you have an absolute construction.

  • ♦ Based on what I've learned, I think an absolute construction used sort of like an adverbial phrase or clause to modify the main clause, but here I am not able to tell what type of adverbial construction it functions here. Could you please explain it to me? – HypnoticBuggyWraithVirileBevy Oct 6 '20 at 1:02
  • @CharlieWang Please check out these two very good answers: this and this – Eddie Kal Oct 6 '20 at 1:28

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