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I have a question regarding the use of infinite/-ing (or past participle?) in the following sentence. Which one is correct between

"Firms often have some of their executives sitting on the board of competitors."

and

"Firms often have some of their executives sit on the board of competitors."

? If both forms are wrong, could you suggest a correct form? If both forms are correct, could you kindly say it in an answer?

  • You say you have a question. What is the question, and what have you found on the subject so far? – Lawrence Jul 25 '19 at 10:47
  • Thanks. I have included the question. I found that in many sentences people have used "sit", but I'm not sure it is correct. – user3285148 Jul 25 '19 at 10:55
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    Why do you think either of those is incorrect? – tchrist Jul 25 '19 at 13:28
  • Thanks, I have added a comment on that. – user3285148 Jul 25 '19 at 14:03
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"Firms often have some of their executives sitting on the board of competitors." This construction implies a state of being. It's similar to saying "Executives for firms often sit on the board of competitors."

"Firms often have some of their executives sit on the board of competitors." This construction implies that firms intentionally place executives on competitors' boards, similar to saying "Firms often request that some of their executives sit on the board of competitors."

Both forms are correct, but you need to pick the version that fits what you're trying to say. One other note "board of competitors" feels awkward. If what you mean is "the Board of Directors of a competitor" then you should probably phrase it as "competitors' boards" or "competitor's board".

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  • Yes. Both are idiomatic constructions. The gerund (have them sitting) is a situational description, where the have is the same sense as have a cold; the to-less infinitive, on the other hand, is causative, and implies that the corporations bring this situation about on purpose. – John Lawler Jul 26 '19 at 2:19

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