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Ok, for example, look at the word "spend" in the dictionary. The word has many meanings & each meaning has many different structures.

[transitive] to use time for a particular purpose; to pass time Source

spend something + adv./prep. We spent the weekend in Paris.

spend something on something. How long did you spend on your homework?

spend something doing something. I spend too much time watching television.

spend something in doing something. Most of her life was spent in caring for others.

So, my question is that:

If we can say "I spent a lot of time on my homework", then can we say:

-"I spent a lot of time doing my homework"

-"I spent a lot of time in doing my homework"

If we can say "I spent too much time watching television", then can we say:

-"I spent too much time on television"

-"I spent too much time in watching television"

If we can say "She spent most of her life in caring for others", then can we say:

-"She spent most of her life caring for others"

  • Yes, one verb can have several different ways of taking complements ("verb complementation"). Different verbs and different senses of a verb may differ in their "patterns of verb complemenation". – CowperKettle Dec 11 '15 at 1:39
  • The gist of what you're saying is correct. As a footnote, though, I would not say, "I spent too much time in watching television," (but I might say, "I spent too much time sitting in front of the television"). – J.R. Dec 11 '15 at 1:45
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I spent a lot of time doing my homework.
I spent a lot of time in doing my homework.

I would say these two are correct, though the first is probably used more.

She spent most of her life caring for others.

Is a perfect sentence.

I spent too much time on television.
I spent too much time in watching television.

The first sentence could be mean you received overexposure on television versus other media. The second sentence sounds awkward, better would be:

I spent too much time watching television.

I think this may be because on television has a specific meaning.
However, we usually spend on things.

  • "spend time in watching television" returns 7 results in Google: google.com/… – Tom Dec 11 '15 at 1:54
  • "spend time on watching television" returns 10 "Spend time watching television" returns ~16,300 – Peter Dec 11 '15 at 2:05

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