I'm writing an explanation of my duties in a job that I currently have, and I came up with the bullet:

Organize large groups of over 200 people, directing them to activities and allocating seating in theaters

Is it wrong to put both the simple present and the present participle in one phrase like this? I'm trying to say that part of my duty in organizing large groups is to direct them to activities and to theater seats. Should I be mixing organize with directing / allocating? It doesn't quite seem right to use direct / allocate here though. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

edit: I feel that I should be mixing simple present with present participles here because I'm not trying to say that I have 3 duties, but rather that one duty (organizing) includes 2 separate aspects (directing / allocating). I realized that I am trying to say "I organize large groups of over 200 people, which includes directing them to activities and allocating seating in theaters." However, is it okay to leave out the "which includes" part here because it is implied by the present participle?

  • 2
    Why do you want a mixed tense in the first place? Use organize with direct or organizing with directing.
    – Kris
    Nov 16 '18 at 8:57
  • Please see also English Language Learners Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Nov 16 '18 at 8:57
  • You are not mixing tenses there.
    – Lambie
    Aug 3 '21 at 20:15
  • What’s wrong with “Organize large groups of over 200 people, direct them to activities and allocate seating in theaters”?
    – Cass Lopez
    Aug 4 '21 at 0:49

I think it's correct. The omission in the example you gave is the preposition 'by' (which refers to the means by which you organise people). And 'by' as a preposition takes a gerund as a complement.

I want to organise large groups of people by directing them to activities and allocating seating. :)

  • I'm not sure this fits - "by" implies that the duty is carried out through the performing of the actions described, while my reading of the question is: how to convey that the activity includes directing and allocating?
    – microenzo
    Dec 17 '18 at 13:25

If that is one duty, I think the sentence is correct. In case of misunderstanding, you may add "by" before the ing.

  • It looks like that was suggested in the other answer (but not clarified either). I encourage you to see the tour and help center.
    – livresque
    Aug 3 '21 at 22:55

CaGEL calls your two non-finite participial clauses, directing them to activities and allocating seating in theaters,

supplements with the main clause as anchor (p. 1265)

Your formulation

Organize large groups of over 200 people, directing them to activities and allocating seating in theaters. looks perfectly fine, the subject of organize, directing and allocating is clearly the same, so no ambiguity there. The two non-finite clauses are correctly used to supplement the information given by the main clause, doing exactly what you want to convey: both directing and allocating come across as subordinate to "organize".

But you are right to check if it is ambiguous. In A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Quirk points out that:

When adverbial participle clauses and adverbial verbless clauses are not introduced by a subordinator, there may be considerable indeterminacy as to the semantic relationship to be inferred. The formal inexplicitness of supplementive clauses allows considerable flexibility in what we may wish them to convey. According to context, we may wish to imply temporal, conditional, causal, concessive, or circumstantial relationship. In short, the supplementive clause implies an accompanying circumstance to the situation described in the matrix clause. For the reader or hearer, the actual nature of the accompanying circumstance has to be inferred from the context.

  • Using a sharp axe, Gilbert fought his way into the building. [By using a sharp axd,...] (pp. 1123-4)

So the reader will have to fill in, and as others have pointed out, the first subordinator that came to mind was by. If you do not agree with it, then it is better to keep the clarifying elements you had in mind:

Organize large groups of over 200 people, which consists of/includes directing them to activities and allocating seating in theaters.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.