be well off doing

7M4SBQ

Member
Japanese
Hello, everyone! I need your help!
When the phrase "be well[better] off" is followed by "doing…", is "doing…" a gerund phrase or a participal construction?

For example:
People would have been better off being hopeful.

I think the lined part is a participal construction and this sentence means; People would have been better off if they had been hopeful.

Am I wrong?

Thank you!
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Am I wrong?
    No.

    In "People would have been better off being hopeful.", "People would have been better off" is, because of the form of the verb, clearly the start of a reduced conditional sentence, and thus -> People would have been better off if they had been hopeful.

    However, it makes equal sense as a gerund clause:
    People would have been better off by their being hopeful.

    Consider

    He would have been better off riding a horse. -> He would have been better off if he had ridden a horse.
    He would have been better off riding a horse. -> He would have been better off by riding a horse.
     
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