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Take for example the two sentences "Ria was blind" and "Yet she became a lawyer." When we join these 2 sentences using a subordinating conjunction, which is correct and why?

"In spite of Ria being blind, she became a lawyer."

OR

"In spite of being blind, Ria became a lawyer."

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Not sure why though, but #1 seems to be wrong. Not sure how to explain it though, but I am very sure of it. –  JFW Mar 4 '11 at 15:39
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Probably has something to do with introduction of names. You wouldn't introduce Ria as a new name if it hadn't been mentioned prior unless you used the second sentence. –  Neil Mar 4 '11 at 15:44
    
JFW thanks. I too felt the second option was correct.Butt I wanted to know the reason..just in case a student asked me.. –  GPEnglish Mar 4 '11 at 16:03
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Both are possible. I agree that the second is more natural, but I would not be surprised to find the first as the opening sentence of a piece of writing, particularly fiction. To me it has a presentational quality, and is foregrounding her blindness.

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In the first sentence, it seems that the subject of the first clause is different from the subject of the second clause. I would use it in a context where it is clear the subject of the sentence is only one.
Apart that, both the sentences have the same meaning.

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