accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt

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Shandol

Senior Member
Persian
Hi,
Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt.
Essential Words for the GRE book

I suppose a more natural of way of saying the sentence would be:

Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his huge amount of accumulating credit card debt.

What do you think about it?

Thanks.
 
  • Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Your version isn't more natural and doesn't really say the same thing. Your version suggests it is continuing to grow, whereas the original is firmly in the past.
     

    Shandol

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Your version isn't more natural and doesn't really say the same thing. Your version suggests it is continuing to grow, whereas the original is firmly in the past.
    Hello Ponyprof,
    Good morning :),
    Could you please talk about the original sentence, in more details? What do you mean by "... whereas the original is firmly in the past."? As a matter of fact, the original sentence doesn't sound plausible to me, specifically the red part!

    Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt.

    Thanks.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    You can say either (1) or (2):
    (1) ...that his habits resulted in something happening ("his accumulating...")—here, "accumulating" is a gerund.
    (2) ...that his habits resulted in a thing: his debt—and by the way, that debt continues to accumulate.
    In (2), "accumulating" is a present participle.
    I see ponyprof's issue about the verb tense: number (2) would sound better with "have resulted".
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    In the second sentence the word "accumulating" modifies debt. That means the debt is actively accumulating or growing.

    In the first sentence accumulating modifies Tom. That means he has collected debt.

    You can't just move a modifier around.
     

    Shandol

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thank you both.

    A. Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt. <Original version>

    B. Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his huge amount of accumulating credit card debt. <My version>

    In the first sentence accumulating modifies Tom.
    :confused:
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In the first sentence, "accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt" is a noun phrase. As such it has no tense as such. It is something that exists now. He may have destroyed his credit cards years ago, but we can talk about the result of his past actions.
    In the second sentence, "accumulating credit card debt" is like "a running man." You would only say this if it was increasing as you speak. He's still using his credit cards.
     

    Shandol

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks @Myridon.

    (1) ...that his habits resulted in something happening ("his accumulating...")—here, "accumulating" is a gerund.
    (2) ...that his habits resulted in a thing: his debt—and by the way, that debt continues to accumulate.
    In (2), "accumulating" is a present participle.
    Precisely, Cenzontle. :thumbsup:

    A. Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his accumulating a huge amount of credit card debt. <Original version>

    B. Tom's spendthrift habits resulted in his huge amount of accumulating credit card debt. <My version>
    In the first sentence accumulating modifies Tom. That means he has collected debt.
    I disagree. In the original sentence/ first example, that is (A), "accumulating" doesn't modify anything. In fact, in (A), as Cenzontle pointed out, "accumulating" is being used as a gerund not participle. However, in (B) we can simply say "accumulating" is modifying "debt"!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Sentence 1
    In the past he accumulated debt. Accumulated is a verb. This is a statement referring to those past actions.

    His habits led to the state he was in at that time of accumulating debt. (He was actively taking actions that caused the level of his debt to go upward.)

    Sentence 2
    Doesn't describe actions by Tom, it describes qualities of the credit card debt in the present. The quality it has its that it's going up.

    The two sentences say two very different things.
     
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