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I have find this sentence:

I wouldn't have thought there's much chance of the package _______ here before Friday?

where "_______" has to be filled. My first try was "to be" but the correct answer is "being".

It is not clear then why "to be" is wrong. In my opinion, "to be" is passive and underlines that package was carried in some location (i.e. here) before Friday.In addition the package has been already carried. On the other hand, "being" is more related to an action in progress but "would have thought" suggests me that the action ended.

Where is my logic wrong?

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    No, the rewrite is wrong. Before trying to second guess sentences like this, why not search for other similar ones?? "being here before Friday" is a gerund phrase.
    – Lambie
    Apr 25, 2023 at 15:18
  • Dear Lambie. You are right. I am a newby in this forum. Why is the second sentence wrong? Could you provide an example of a possible similar ones? How should I have searched it?
    – diedro
    Apr 25, 2023 at 15:23
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    You can refer to the chance of something happening OR (less commonly) the chance for something to happen. It'sd not really a matter of "syntactic rules" here - just that some combinations of prepositions are more often used with some verb forms. Apr 25, 2023 at 17:44
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    I'm afraid that asking 'is this correct?' is off-topic here. Your question should be about a specific learning point of English. Why do you think what you have written is wrong or right? Did you find a conflict in learning resources? Why did you doubt the research you did? All these questions could help you form the basis of an acceptable question for the site.
    – Astralbee
    Apr 26, 2023 at 8:15

1 Answer 1

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The blank can only have an "-ing" form, like "being" or "arriving".

The phrase, "the package _______ here before Friday" is the object of the preposition "of". This means the phrase must be a noun phrase. Gerunds are verbs with "-ing" that act as nouns. Because we need a noun phrase here, and that blank is the root of that phrase, we use the gerund, "being".

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  • I certainly agree. By that logic, though, the preposition "for" would also require the gerund "being". However, we could say ". . . there's much chance for the package to be here before Friday" (as FF mentions in a comment and which might be what OP was thinking of). Perhaps, therefore, it's worth pointing out that different prepositions can take different kinds of complements. May 3, 2023 at 0:26
  • @MarcInManhattan Oh, you have skewered me. I have no thoughts on why [ "to" + base form ] sometimes can act as a noun -- including as the object of a preposition -- and sometimes cannot, and I don't think it's worth the space of an answer to simply say "sometimes they do". If you know of a rule a learner could understand, I'd love to learn it.
    – gotube
    May 3, 2023 at 3:49
  • I don't know of any general rule, either. I think that it just has to be memorized for each situation. May 3, 2023 at 15:05

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