everyone. I have a question regarding the usage of "in" in this pattern:

Adjective/noun + in + V-ing

Like in this sentence:

  1. «Light takes such a long time in crossing the enormous distances and getting to us.»

But, I was wondering if it could work without "in":

  1. «Light takes such a long time crossing the enormous distances and getting to us.»

Or, even with infinitive:

  1. «Light takes such a long time to cross the enormous distances and getting to us.»

I would like to know how to use this patten, in what context and what rules I should follow to use it correctly.

I've been searching on the internet, but there is little information about this topic and it's not really helpful. Here are some other examples I found:

  1. This NPO plays a central role in proposing environmental policies.

  2. He's taking a long time in making that pastry

Thanks you in advanced, I'd be really thankful if you help me understand it.

  • 1
    All of your examples work. What is it that you have a question about in them? – David M Sep 28 '19 at 23:40
  • Hi, David. The thing is that I didn't know that "in" could be use in that structure. I want to know how to use that pattern: adjective/noun + in + V-ing. – Vale Garcia Sep 28 '19 at 23:46
  • You're using it correctly. Not sure if there's a hard and fast rule for it. – David M Sep 28 '19 at 23:47
  • Do all of them mean the same? – Vale Garcia Sep 28 '19 at 23:51
  • To my eye, yes. I'm certain we could spend hours trying to come up with an example that doesn't. But, you're doing fine. – David M Sep 29 '19 at 0:05

In short: your example sentences all work fine. The presence or absence of in makes little difference to their meaning and is largely styling.

As far as a rule goes, there's only one I'd suggest. Save this construct for adverbial clauses that use the gerund form.

I'm very influential in suggesting things to the boss.

I enjoy taking my time in crossing the street.

Don't use it after noun phrases that include a gerund.

Frog jumping is my favorite betting sport.

  • Thanks, David, for your help. Now I understand it. – Vale Garcia Sep 29 '19 at 0:44

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