Hong Kong does...rather than (ape)...


Senior Member
It doesn’t matter whether Shanghai rules ,as long as Hong Kong does what it does best, rather than ape what it believes a competitor such as Shanghai might do, if and when it becomes the dominant commercial Chinese city.
I think "ape" should be "apes", since the subject is Hong Kong. Am I right?
Thank you.:)
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    "Ape" here is used as a verb that means "imitate". And it should be in the infinitive, just the way it is.

    PS. Oh, I see, you know it's a verb already. After "rather than" the verb should be in the infinitive, I think. I don't remember the rule, but it feels OK the way it is. :)
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I have a thought that it might be a present subjunctive form- 3rd person singular has no 's'.

    I would rather he went to the doctor with all his aches and pains than come here expecting me to diagnose him.

    I would rather Shanghai ruled than Hong Kong ape what it thinks its competitors will be doing, instead of doing what it does best.

    I think 'went' and 'ruled' might be past subjunctives/ conditionals.
    It will be interesting to see what the Grammarians think



    Senior Member
    English UK
    This is something like my thirty-fifth attempt to answer this question - so I'm just going to go for it, in the hope that someone will come along later and turn my ramblings into some sort of sense:(

    Here's what I wrote before...

    I agree with boozer: (1) "ape" is correct; and (2) it's a bare infinitive.

    After "rather than", the two main options are the bare infinitive and the gerund. And we normally choose between these depending on what comes before:

    I want to go out rather than stay in: to-infinitive, bare infinitive.
    I like going out rather than staying in: gerund, gerund.

    When there's no earlier 'pointer' we have a choice:
    I often go out rather than stay in:tick:
    I often go out rather than staying in:tick:

    In your original text, I would probably have said "aping" rather than "ape": but that's just a personal choice.
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