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Hello, GreenThunderBolt,

"Rather than return/returning to Germany, he instead fled to Africa."

I'm not sure if I should use 'return' or 'returning' in the introductory phrase here. What's more, I'm not sure what kind of introductory phrase this is: adverb phrase, adjective phrase, participle phrase....

As David explained here, you should use the V-ing form. I find "instead" to  be redundant:

- Rather than returning to Germany, he fled to Africa.

We can use the bare infinitive when there is an infinitive in the main verb phrase, for example:

- Rather than return to Germany, he has decided to go Africa.

- Rather than return to Germany, he will go to Africa.

Quirk calls the "rather than ..." structure a clause of preference, and it is clearly that when followed by an infinitive. When followed by V-ing, it is considered a prepositional phrase, similar to "instead of V-ing."

Note: Both "return" and "returning" are non-finites in the examples above, that is, tenseless forms of the verb.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Hello, GreenThunderBolt,

As David explained here, you should use the V-ing form. I find "instead" to  be redundant:

- Rather than returning to Germany, he fled to Africa.

We can use the bare infinitive when there is an infinitive in the main verb phrase, for example:

- Rather than return to Germany, he has decided to go Africa.

- Rather than return to Germany, he will go to Africa.

Quirk calls the "rather than ..." structure a clause of preference, and it is clearly that when followed by an infinitive. When followed by V-ing, it is considered a prepositional phrase, similar to "instead of V-ing."

Note: Both "return" and "returning" are non-finites in the examples above, that is, tenseless forms of the verb.



Thank you. This was helpful.

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