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The largest known dead zone occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2002, when runoff from the Mississippi River resulted in over 20,000 square kilometers of the Gulf area to become uninhabitable for oceanic life.

I think 'becoming' is more proper instead of 'to become'. I found the sentence above. If the sentence above is correct, I'd like to know why 'to become' is right. because to-infinitive is representing future?

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That construction is definitely defective. Gerund-participials (becoming in this case) occur freely as complement of a preposition (in in this case). To-infinitivals occur only under very restrictive conditions. The only prepositional expressions that take to-infinitivals other than interrogatives as direct complements are purposive in order, and as if/though (CaGELp1262).

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  • You could also argue that gerund-participials are more like nouns than infinitivals are in that they can invert with the subject in interrogatives. – BillJ May 21 at 9:46

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