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"In the meanwhile, is there anything else I'm supposed to do besides studying for the test?"

OR

"In the meanwhile, is there anything else I'm supposed to do besides study for the test?"

Which tense form is correct and why? Could someone please explain.

  • (+1) Any question which causes experts to disagree must be a good question. – Nigel J Nov 13 '17 at 8:45
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Besides, as used here, is a preposition and requires a noun or noun phrase.

Studying is a gerund and functions as a noun. Study here is also a noun: you can test that by adding something like more: "besides more study for the test".

All of Oxford's examples follow besides with a noun (sometimes abstract, sometimes concrete; always a noun or noun phrase).

The question "which tense is right" is the wrong question, I'm afraid. But the answer is that both are correct, because neither is a verb.

  • Because neither is a tensed verb. Both gerunds and infinitives are verbs; they just don't have tense markers. – John Lawler Sep 20 '17 at 12:47
  • @JohnLawler My point is that study here is not a verb at all: it's a noun. And that's why studying works: although its not a tensed verb (or even, it is an untensed verb), it functions as a noun. – Andrew Leach Sep 20 '17 at 12:49
  • Study is an infinitive parallel with do, or at least can't be distinguished from a 1-word infinitive clause in this sentence. The clause is of course a noun phrase, like all complement clauses. For many peoples' grammars, that makes study a noun; for others' not. Certainly if one added an object study geometry, one would have to invoke a clausal NP. – John Lawler Sep 20 '17 at 12:51
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    I disagree that study in this sentence is an infinitive. It's a noun, meaning the act of studying. Certainly, if it were to be made a verb by adding an object, that changes things. – Andrew Leach Sep 20 '17 at 12:54
  • @AndrewLeach is "in the" used in the starting redundant? Can it be "meanwhile, is there anything else I'm supposed to do besides studying for the test?" – wdihtwtd26 Sep 20 '17 at 17:47
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Both are acceptable. "besides studying for the test" may be slightly more formal.

"studying for the test" is a gerund.

In "study for the test", the verb "study" is in infinitive form, in parallel with "do". (But you would never say "besides to study for the test".)

  • Hmmm. The more I think about this, the less I like the "study" option. – aschepler Sep 20 '17 at 11:54

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