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Combining/combined together - please help!

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:54 am
by whaviland
Hello everybody, I would be exceedingly grateful if someone could lend me their expert opinion on this question. I am a school teacher working in South Korea, and we are in midterm examination season. I have just been asked to double check the English paper, and am struggling on the following question:

[Students have to choose which word is correct at (C) - the article is about reducing the world's plastic waste]

For example, we can use our own personal refillable water bottles instead of buying disposible plastic bottles of water. We can also bring our own reusable bags to the market and say "No" to plastic bags. With all these ideas and efforts (C) combining / combined ] together, we can reduce the total amount of plastic waste!

I know that 'combined' is correct, but truthfully I'm uncomfortable saying 'combining' is wrong, even though it sounds a little awkward.

Can anyone give me a grammatical reason why combining is wrong here?

Thanks for any suggestions, I really appreciate it!


Re: Combining/combined together - please help!

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:28 am
by Alan
I entirely agree: 'combined' is the more idiomatic choice, but 'combining' is not ungrammatical, since the verb exists intransitively with no significant difference in meaning. The question is poorly designed!