1. Revenue dropped due to fewer units of property sold in 2013.

  2. Revenue dropped due to fewer units of property were sold in 2013.

  3. Revenue dropped due to fewer units of property being sold in 2013.

Which sentence is correct ?

  • 3
    the use of lesser in those sentences sounds awkward. Try fewer Jul 25, 2014 at 5:30
  • I've edited lesser to fewer, as Sam I Am suggests, so this error does not distract attention from the central question. Jul 25, 2014 at 11:32

3 Answers 3


I agree with Zoe - the correct sentence is (3), but for a more simple reason:

The form "due to" correctly calls for a noun (phrase) or a substantivized verb - most commonly a gerund: in this case being sold.

If a conjugated verb form is preferred, then "due to the fact that +[verb]" is more in order. That is why sentence (2) is incorrect. It should read: "... due to the fact that fewer units were sold."

Sentence (1) is extremely clumsy, however it is the language of the "man on the street" and unfortunately is quite prevalent.

  • Thanks. As "due to" calls for a noun (Phrase), I would think that 2 & 3 are wrong. For (1), "sold in 2013" is a participle phrase modify "property". For (2), I need to add "that" to turn "that ~ 2013" into NP Complement. For (3), I think "being sold in 2013" is not a gerund and I need to add "that were being sold ~" to make the sentence grammatically correct. Please correct me. Thanks
    – Pupu
    Jul 25, 2014 at 14:50
  • (3) is not wrong because by using the passive gerund instead of the passive form "were," the entire verb phrase is substantivized and thus fits the pattern. (2) is wrong on every level because "due to" cannot govern a conjugated verb phrase.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 25, 2014 at 15:29
  • I thought gerund only functions as noun, how can "being sold in 2013" use as an adjective for "property"? Can you please elaborate why "Sentence (1) is extremely clumsy" ? Thanks for your help.
    – Pupu
    Jul 26, 2014 at 8:18
  • A gerund has nominal, adjectival and verbal functions, and it is the nominal function here that qualifies it for use after "due to." Sentence (1) is clumsy because after "due to" we expect a nominal of some kind. Here the nominal would be "fewer units sold in 2013" viewed as a phenomenon in itself and thus substantivized in the mind of the speaker (and hopefully the listener) to fit the pattern. However it has a very poor syntactic structure and is only marginally acceptable as a colloquial statement. In writing, it's just not very intelligent, for lack of a better word.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 26, 2014 at 12:46
  • If we replace "due to" with "because" we can talk about the different verbs. When speaking of real estate, I have heard "sold" in the active voice with the property sold as the subject: "Our house finally sold." Perhaps this is not standard usage, but I am certain I have heard it a few times, and from native speakers. Aug 9, 2014 at 3:11

I would choose sentence 3,

Revenue dropped due to fewer units of property being sold in 2013.

And here's why!

There is a specific range of time in the context of the sentence. In this case, from the start of 2013 to the end of 2013, which has passed.

The simple past tense, sold, is only used to talk about actions which started and finished at a specific time in the past. Tense that is used for actions that started in the past and continued up to another time in the past is the past perfect continuous tense. For example,

They had been neglecting their studies.

Hence, sentence 1 is out.

Next, for sentence 2, were sold is in past perfect tense which is used to express an action that happened in the past before a specific past action, showing a sequence of actions or events in the past. Since the sentence does not have more than one action, past perfect tense cannot be used. For example,

The hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him and he began to read voraciously on all subjects.

If one were to use The hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him only, it would be an incomplete sentence due to the type of tense used. So, sentence 2 is also out.

Sentence 3 is our winner as it is a complete sentence in the passive voice. Being sold is past continuous passive verb. Such verbs are used frequently. For example,

(passive) The customer was being helped by the bank teller when the robber came in.

(active) The bank teller was helping the customer when the robber came in.

I hope my explanation was clear. I tried my best. Peace!


Source: Everything You Need To Know About English (Upper Primary 4 to 6) (c) Educational Publishing House Pte Ltd


The correct one is :

1)Revenue dropped due to lesser units of property sold in 2013.

It's the only one that make sense .

Also , 2) could make sense if we made the following modification :

2)Revenue dropped due to lesser units of property that were sold in 2013.

  • Hello! I think you should explain how you arrived to the conclusion that sentence 1 is correct. (which is why you're getting down-voted. It wasn't me, btw.) Based on what I read in a book (see my answer above) I strongly disagree that sentence 1 is correct.
    – Zoe
    Jul 25, 2014 at 12:50
  • 1
    I was one of the down voters. I down voted because I think your answer is wrong. Jul 25, 2014 at 21:40
  • @mohamed: The fact that (1) is the only one that makes sense to you should inspire you to stop correcting posts and continue studying English.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 25, 2014 at 21:54
  • To make matters worse, your "solution" is also incorrect, which is why I was the other down-voter.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 25, 2014 at 21:55

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