It is necessary for job interviewees ______ punctual because it will make a great impression.

a. to be

b. being

c. are

d. will be

The answer is 'a'. But I wonder why 'b' is wrong? (I know why 'c, d' are not the answer.)


3 Answers 3


If you write

It is necessary for job interviewees being punctual...

The 'being punctual' is interpreted as a participle phrase modifying "interviewees". The tight binding of those parts of the sentence prevents the "being punctual" from making the intended connection to "necessary", like the "to be punctual" would if you wrote:

It is necessary for job interviewees to be punctual...

  • Hmmm. I don't agree there. If you use the first sentence then being punctual is a right dislocation clarifying the referent of it. I don't think any native speaker can parse the sentence so that being punctual is modifying interviewees. Nov 5, 2015 at 11:38
  • @Araucaria "It is necessary for job interviewees being punctual to pay attention to other things as well". Of course, the original sentence did not leave that interpretation as an option.
    – oerkelens
    Nov 5, 2015 at 12:09
  • @oerkelens Do you mean: ""It is necessary for job interviewees' being punctual to pay attention to other things as well"? (where there's an apostrophe after interviewees)? It sounds the same but the structure's different! Nov 5, 2015 at 12:18
  • @oerkelens Hmmm can't tell if it's grammatical without the apostrophe there .... ? Interesting sentence! Nov 5, 2015 at 12:29
  • @oerkelens That's an interesting sentence. Underlyingly it's "[To pay attention to other things as well] is necessary for job interviewees['] being puntual. Here the for is the preposition and not the subordinator. Nov 5, 2015 at 12:44

It is necessary for job interviewees to be punctual.

This type of sentence is called an extraposition. We use extrapositions like this because it is difficult for listeners to process (understand) sentences if they have an infinitive clause as a Subject.

This sentence means:

  • [For job interviewees to be punctual] is necessary.

However, no native speaker would say that sentence, because it is difficult to understand it. In this sentence the infinitive clause has a Subject, interviewees. If an infinitive clause has a Subject, we need to use the word for before the Subject:

  • It is difficult to understand.
  • It is difficult for people to understand.

To make an extraposition sentence, we use a dummy Subject, it and put the infinitive clause at the end of the sentence.

  • [To be there on time] is important
  • It is important [to be there on time].

We can also make extrapositions with finite clauses:

  • [That he was late] surprised me.
  • It surprised me [that he was late].

Notice that in all these sentences, the word it has no meaning. We just use it to fill the Subject position in the sentence. It doesn't mean anything.

Now, we can't make extrapositions with -ing clauses (gerund-participle clauses) in the same way if the -ing clause has a Subject.

  • [My being in charge] is necessary
  • *It is necessary [my being in charge]. (ungrammatical)

We can make a sentence that looks very similar though:

  • It's necessary, my being in charge.

Here my being in charge is a right dislocation. It explains what the pronoun it refers to. It is a bit like saying:

  • She's a fantastic swimmer, Mary.

In this sentence, Mary explains exactly who she refers to. Right dislocations are usually considered very informal and normally only happen in speech, not normally in writing.

The Original Poster needs to use option (a) here

  • 1
    Does not answer the question, other than to say "we can't" do such-and-such. The OP asks why.
    – user20792
    Nov 5, 2015 at 16:23

"It is + adjective + to-infinitve" is a fixed sentence pattern.

-It's difficult/interesting to learn a foreign language.

  • 1
    This does not answer the question. It just affirms the construction of answer 'a'.
    – user20792
    Nov 5, 2015 at 16:20

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