I want to know which is appropriate one to fill the gap in.

Leslie had a very strange thing __(happen) when she was in Romania.

  1. happen
  2. happening
  3. happened

Oxfor Grammar explains that I can use either infinitive or gerund to talk about experiences. However, in the other section, it also tells me that for passive, I can use past participle. So, in that sentence above, which one is appropriate and why? Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


Either 1 or 2 is possible. You can speak of what happened as a completed thing (happen) or as a process that was continuing for a time (happening). The infinitive (happen) is more likely.

Happen is intransitive, so it can't be made passive, and happened doesn't fit there.

  • You think "Leslie had a very strange thing happening when she was in Romania" is even possible? It sounds very wrong to me (Northeast US native speaker).
    – stangdon
    Dec 12, 2021 at 5:49
  • I think it's possible. "Leslie had a very strange thing happening when she was in Romania. Every night when she went to bed, she would have dreams about Dracula. When she crossed to Bulgaria, the dreams disappeared." Dec 12, 2021 at 8:20

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