"He sang everywhere, including in the bath".

"He behaved badly in many ways, including cheating in his exams."

These don't sound quite right to me. Are they wrong? And, if so, on the basis of what rule?

  • Your examples are perfectly idiomatic.
    – WS2
    Feb 5 '15 at 17:14
  • I'd say "cheating on his exams", but that may be a US/UK split. Aside from that, they sound fine to me. Feb 5 '15 at 17:34
  • Any word that can be a member of a set could be included in the set of words that can properly follow "including". Feb 5 '15 at 17:40
  • It might be easier to list the words that can't follow "including".
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 5 '15 at 18:43

Including as used here is a preposition. A participial preposition, but still a true preposition.

In English Grammar: A University Course by Angela Downing & ‎Philip Locke is found this analysis on where prepositional phrases may be used:

Realisations of the complement element of a prepositional phrase

The complement element of a PP is most typically realised by a nominal group, but it may also be realised by the classes of groups and clauses shown below. Simple nouns and pronouns, adjectives and adverbs are treated as 'groups' represented by the head:

noun groups:

at home / after which / on account of his age

adjectival groups:

in private / at last / for good

adverbial groups:

for ever / since when / until quite recently

prepositional phrases:

from out of the forest / except in here

(+ finite wh-clauses; wh- + to-infinitive clauses and ...

-ing clauses) [re-formatted]

They authors go on to mention restrictions that may apply with each type of element, but none are mentioned for prepositional phrases.

This 'licenses' "He sang everywhere, including in the bath". I'd say it's in an informal register.

With "He behaved badly in many ways, including cheating in his exams.", we have the ing-clause complement. Provided that the preceding main clause licenses the 'including', an ing-clause complement should be acceptable. With the second example here, one could paraphrase as "He behaved badly in many ways, one of which was cheating in his exams." I'd say this is another acceptable usage, though perhaps even more informal.

  • thank you very much. Does "including in the bath" use "including" in a grammatically appropriate manner - is it a valid prepositional phrase? Another, rather starker example: "I advised her comprehensively in relation to her legal rights" is OK, but "I advised her comprehensively, including in relation to her legal rights" just doesn't quite ring true to me. But perhaps I am being unjustifiably squeamish. I also don't like "including cheating in his bath", but don't know enough grammar to understand what basis, if any, there might be for my unease. Feb 5 '15 at 18:55
  • I've been trying with limited success to find examples of "including in" being used in this way in 19th century Google Books. Feb 5 '15 at 19:02
  • In a quick search, I've found this on the internet: 'If you sell pet animals, including over the internet, you need a Pet Shop Licence'. But I'd say this is stretching grammaticality beyond limits usually considered acceptable. However, I also found this, with which I've no problems: 'Besides smoke over the US, there are aerosols everywhere, including over the Middle and Far East.' So '... everywhere, including [locative expression, prepositional phrases included]' but not 'sell animals including over the internet'. Feb 5 '15 at 20:13
  • "I advised her comprehensively, including in relation to her legal rights" just doesn't quite ring true to me either, so I'd not use it. But I'd not slap an 'ungrammatical' label on the construction. Putting the PP in parentheses would be a way of disguising the fact that including's necessary list has to be supplied by the reader. Feb 5 '15 at 20:32

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