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See how close kid comes to being run over by minibus and lorry

What does the meaning "to being" in sentence above?

3 Answers 3

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See how close kid comes to being run over by minibus and lorry .

Means :

See how the kid is about to be run over by minibus and lorry .

Anyway , "close to" or "about to be" : Indicates something that will happen very soon; indicates that something is imminent.

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    "See how close kid about to be run over by minibus and lorry" isn't even English! Furthermore, "to being" is not idiomatic in and of itself, since "to" in that sentence is the complement of "close" and thus more correctly belongs to "close to."
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 13:58
  • Yes , you're right about that . But he asked about the meaning . doesn't matter . keep voting down ^^ Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 14:08
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    I understand that you were attempting to explain the concept, however on a site for learning English, all the English used has to be exemplary for the sake of the learners. Perhaps if you would edit your sample sentence: "See how the kid is about to be..." and remove "to being" and leave "about to be," everything else is in order.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 14:19
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"to" in this sentence belongs to "close" since this is the complement used with it to describe proximity:

Our house is close to the post office.

In your sentence, the word order is a bit "free," however it's the same principle:

See how close to being run over by a minibus and lorry the kid comes.

Here we have all the same components, but in a different word order to show you the more familiar position of "to" in relation to "close."

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The expression in question is "to come close to [gerund]." The gerund occurs with an "-ing" ending, making it look a lot like a participle, which is likely the confusion here, as participles don't directly follow the preposition "to." Gerunds are verbs functioning as a noun. Unfortunately, they look exactly like participles and that can be confusing.

For an example, I could say example a):

a) I came close |to the beach|, but I didn't go onto the sand.

In a), "the beach" is a noun and occurs after "to" as a part of the prepositional phrase.

In the example you site, the verb phrase "to be run over by a minibus and lorry," occurring as a gerundive (drops the infinitive "to" and becomes "being run over..."), functions as a noun and as a part of the prepositional phrase starting with "to." But, this is something of an idiomatic expression. It's meaning isn't one of location, as with "the beach," and as marked by the preposition "to." By semantic extension, the meaning of "to come close to [gerund]," means that it ALMOST happened. It didn't happen, but it almost did. As with a), I was ALMOST at the beach, but not quite. In your example, I was almost hit by a vehicle, but not quite.

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