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I've read a sentence below from a British teacher:

"In 1999, the proportion of people using the Internet in USA was about 20%"

I think it should be:

In 1999, the proportion of people who used the Internet in USA was about 20%

This is because we cannot use "-ing clause" for single actions in the past. Am I correct?

Thanks in advance!

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  • Using the Internet is not a single action; presumably the sentence refers to people who habitually used it. Dec 24, 2019 at 8:17
  • "we cannot use "-ing clause" for single actions in the past" -- source?
    – Kris
    Dec 24, 2019 at 8:21

1 Answer 1

-1

"... the proportion of [the/all] people [who were] using the Internet ..."
does contain some reductions, but non-finite forms like this are not always referred to as reduced relative clauses. The reduced verb ([were]) puts 'using' in the past, and is perfectly acceptable.
([the/all] depends on context - without a previous mention, 'all' is assumed)
([who] is often replaced with 'which' or 'that')
([were] is a copula that inherits its tense from the main verb 'was')

"... the proportion of [the/all] people who used the Internet ..."
contains a [subject] relative clause which cannot be reduced.

("... the people [whom] I talked to ..." is an example with a reduced [object] relative phrase,
although only pedants require the object form 'whom' instead of the other pronoun choices)

"... the people [who were] confused by the Internet ..."
is an example with a passive non-finite verb - which some refer to as a reduced object passive relative clause (but they should then also recognize the '-ing' form as a reduced object progressive relative clause)

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  • Sounds good. Could be a bit too much trouble for a non-native speaker, though.
    – Kris
    Dec 24, 2019 at 8:23

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