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In the proofreading part of my test paper, I wrote

"Opening at the same time as the school, the library is an important place."

But the answer was

"Open at the same time as the school, the library is an important place."

Is my answer wrong? I learnt to use gerunds at the beginning of the sentence, so I am so confused by this question. Can someone help me? Do native speakers of English accept my answer?

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  • On the origin of those sentences. When you say "I wrote" do you mean you selected that sentence from a multiple choice, filled_in a blank with the missing word, or wrote the sentence entirely?
    – agc
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:07
  • I don't blame you for being confused -- that sentence sucks.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 12:17
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    Was the quoted sentence the only context - or was there a previous sentence. Without knowing what went before, either answer could be correct. But this Q. may be more appropriate on English Language Learners.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 13:25
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    Per @agc's answer, Neither sentence is good English, both lack coherence. It looks to me like a typical ESL "multi-choice test" put together by an examiner who's not a native Anglophone in the first place. Voting to migrate to ELL. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 13:30
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    Neither is good. My guess -- and it is only a guess -- is that the meaning is that the library is as old as the school. If so "Opened at the same time as the school....." would be better, but still an awkward sentence.
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:53

2 Answers 2

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"Opening at the same time as the school..." means that both open at the same time. It does not give us any further information.

"Open at the same time as the school..." means that when the school is open, so is the library, therefore, when the school closes, so does the library.

Furthermore, beginning a sentence with a gerund is not a rule. A past participle works just as well and does not convey the same message. For example, you could say : "Confused by his answer, I asked for some more details". I could also say "Confusing as his answer was, I still understood the bottom line" but of course, those sentences are completely different.

Lastly, "Opening" in your case is not even a gerund. If you wanna use a gerund in this case, you could say "The opening of the library occurs at the same time as the opening of the school."

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  • I don't read "Open at the same time as the school..." as meaning that the library's opening hours are identical to the school's opening hours. I read it as meaning that when the school is open, the library is also open - but we do not know whether the library's opening hours are identical to or longer than the school's hours.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:09
  • The 2nd option: "Open at the same time as the school..." means that when the school is open, so is the library, therefore, when the school closes, so does the library." is massively erroneous. There is no such conclusion in the original statement. It might be a mild implication, but at that, it is merely a suggestion, not a certainty. A "therefore" clause would have us believe that the logic is rock-solid.
    – Mark G B
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 0:18
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Opening at the same time as the school,the library is an important place.

Open at the same time as the school,the library is an important place.

Neither sentence is good English, both lack coherence. The way this sentence lacks it:

Waking up at the same time as the Mayor, the Cook is an important man.

(OK, the Cook's important, but what's that got to do with when the Mayor wakes up?)

"What is the correct answer" begs the question, there was no correct answer, save perhaps parroting the teacher.

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