The following is a question from an English test. Which form is correct, changing or to change?

Agriculture gave people their first experience of the power of technology _______ (change) lives.

2 Answers 2


They're both correct, with slightly different meanings or at least emphases:

  • Agriculture gave people their first experience of technology's power changing lives. (They experienced the changing of lives.)
  • Agriculture gave people their first experience of the power/capability of technology to change lives. (They realised by observing the life-changes how powerful technology was.)#

Some might argue that 'lives being changed by the power of technology' is not as satisfactory as 'lives being changed by technology' or 'lives being changed by the application/s of technology', so that only the 'power ... to change ...' structure is correct, but broadened usages are common.

  • Thank you very much. I'm enlightened.
    – 徐道邻
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 1:31

If the words you Posted quote the test exactly, the only possible answer is 'to change'… though how far advanced was the test, that it posed such a question?

The crucial point here is not the gap, but the following '(change)'.

Without that '(change)', whether to use 'changing' or 'to change' would be optional… which would make the test impossible.

With '(change)', the choice is removed, making 'to (change)' the only option

Why the examiner used '_______ (change)' eludes me, for one but if it made no useful contribution, why was it there?

  • Whoever down-voted my suggestion, how can you justify that? Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 22:21

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