The following is the SAT Question of the day (August 25):

The gong, believed to have originated in Western Asia, reached China in the sixth century, where it continues to be used for a wide range of purposes, (__________) a military signal, a rhythmic accompaniment for vocal performance, and a ritual instrument.

A. including as
B. which include
C. which includes
D. including
E. they include as

A is indicated as the correct answer.

I understand that a preposition usually comes before a noun phrase. But, in this sentence "including" comes before an adverbial phrase. Is there any other example of this kind?

Or, is "including" a present participle? Then, can "include" take an adverbial phrase as an object?

NOTE: I added the source of the question, and simplified my question.

It seems that SAT Question of the day has a 3 year cycle. When I searched on the internet, I found questions and answers about this problem dated in 2012 and 2009. With regard to my question why an adverbial phrase can come after "including", there seems to be two explanations.

  1. "including" is a preposition. The preposition can take a prepositional phrase as complement.

  2. A word such as "its use" is omitted from between "including" and "as".

As for 1, I found an example in [1]

That means he took one lamb burger out of there, from under the grill.

2 seems to be fitting no matter we take "including" as a preposition or as a present participle.

[1]The Oxford English Grammar, Sidney Greenbaum, Oxford University Press (1996).


We can rephrase the sentence slightly, with emphasis:

The range of purposes that gongs are used for includes as a military signal, [as] a rhythmic accompaniment, and [as] a ritual instrument.

With this in mind, most of your questions become hard to parse, because include as isn't a coherent unit. I would just point out that you should not replace including with which include/s. This isn't because you can't do so, grammatically, but because it's not clear whether the verb should agree with (singular) range or (plural) purposes, and whichever you choose, nitpicking pedants will come out of the woodwork to correct you.

  • Then, is "as a military signal, [as] a rhythmic accompaniment, and [as] a ritual instrument" the object of "includes"?
    – Aki
    Sep 10 '15 at 11:08

I don't think that "including" is optimal here, I would prefer e.g. (for example); then you have no problem with "as".

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