Recently, a student wrote the following sentence:

Despite Dr.Guitierrez’s assertion that Tina was bit by a lizard, he knew that he was wrong to assure the Bowmans about lizards bite children normally.

The correct way to write this sentence could be:

...that lizards bite children normally"


"...about lizards biting children normally".

But I had trouble explaining to the student why their version was incorrect. Can someone help me find an explanation?

1 Answer 1


That is a conjunction here, it can attach a complete sentence (having a verb in proper tense, etc.) to the previous context.

About is a preposition. You can only attach a noun, a pronoun or an expanded noun phrase using it. To transform a sentence into a noun phrase you need to replace the verb in its tense with a gerund, so that it can be treated like a noun. So 'bite' must become 'biting' in this example.

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