So today, in an english lesson we got into an argument with the teacher wether both options of "got involved" and "getting involved" were correct in a workbook exercise.

The task in question was to fill in the blanks for the following sentence:

"Dennis started spending time hanging about on the streets and _____ (get) involved in gangs and street crime."

My own teacher told me that I didn't understand her explanation on why 'got' is correct. And I completely agree with that answer, however I'm fairly certain that 'getting' is also correct. My basis for this is that you can interpret the sentence as portrayed by these scemes: (started () and started ()), ((started ___) and (____)).

Another teacher said that 'getting' would be correct, however she doesn't believe that the concept of getting involved over time is a thing.

So my question is: Is 'getting involved' correct in this context?

1 Answer 1


As you say, the sentence could be understood in two slightly different ways:

Dennis started spending time (a) hanging about on the streets, and (b) getting involved in gangs.

Dennis started spending time hanging about on the streets. (Because of this) he got involved in gangs.

I suppose it could be argued that 'becoming involved' was a single happening rather than a pastime, but you could also say that it was a gradual process which took some time.

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