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Here's a sentence written in my textbook.

The drawing took me a day to complete.

In order that I understand this more deeply, I've made sentences and I'd like to know if these are possible to use.

  1. That I completed the drawing took a day.

  2. For me to complete the drawing took a day.

  3. Me conpleting the drawing took a day.

  4. It took me a day to complete the drawing.

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Three of these are grammatically acceptable, but only #4 is a likely "natural" construction. The others all sound awkward, or even somehow twisted.

  • 1) That I completed the drawing took a day.

This sounds as if the FACT that you completed it "took" a whole day. But the fact doesn't occupy time. This construction would sound more natural in a sentence like: "That I completed the drawing [at all] was a miracle."

  • 2) For me to complete the drawing took a day.

Hard to pinpoint what's "wrong", but reading this, I parse "For me to complete the drawing" as an adverbial clause rather than a noun phrase. I almost expect it to end something like this "...drawing, I first had to find my pastels." So after I have read to the end, I then have to re-parse the beginning as a noun phrase.

Anyway, it feels more natural as "For me, it took a day to complete the drawing." This would have the connotation "Other people may have completed theirs sooner, but for me it took a day.

  • 3) Me completing the drawing took a day.

This needs "My completing" rather than "Me completing". Even so, it would be more natural to move "me" toward the end: "Completing the drawing took me a day."

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The only sentence that is correct is:

It took me a day to complete the drawing

This is because it is the person, referencing the time, and then you are saying to complete the drawing.

However, the others are not grammatically correct, because the structure is not right.

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