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Hello everyone.

Below is a grammatical question for a university entrance examination held in the past. I have a couple of questions regarding it.

( ) that night, we could not observe the moon.

(A) Having rained (B) It was raining (C) It having rained (D) Raining

Q1 Which of the above four items would you choose?

Q2 Apparently, this question is about the participle construction, and the correct answer provided by the examiner is (C). What do you think of it?

Q3 Some people say that the correct answer to this question should be "It raining." What is your take on this idea?

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( ? ) that night, we could not observe the moon.

(C) is the correct choice, though (A) is also possible. The difference is that (C) contains a subject, "it", while (A) is subjectless and hence might be called a 'dangling participle', which normally should be avoided.

They are, though, both participial constructions, more specifically gerund-participial clauses functioning as supplementary adjuncts.

Your suggestion of "it raining" is one of ellipsis, which could be interpreted as "as/because/since it was raining", but with the preposition and the main verb missing. It's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it in this instance.

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Was there something you disliked about my answer, seagull?

No. Please don't misunderstand me. I've just noticed that someone disliked your answer, but I've not pushed any buttons yet.

This question is very difficult for me, so after reading your comment carefully, I've been thinking about what grammatical point I'm missing. I think I've finally reached some (maybe, temporary) conclusion. I'm posting another few questions to ask you a few minutes later, so please read it.

Thank you so much for your answer, BillJ.

May I ask you yet another question? --

Can we paraphrase "It having rained that night, we could not observe the moon" as "Because it had rained that night, we could not observe the moon"?

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seagullCan we paraphrase "It having rained that night, we could not observe the moon" as "Because it had rained that night, we could not observe the moon"?

[1] Because it had rained that night, we could not observe the moon.

[2] It having rained that night, we could not observe the moon.

Yes: the paraphrase you cite in [1] is the finite version of non-finite "having rained that night" in [2], which is the recommended answer.

There's no real difference in meaning between the two, but note that [1] is not a participial construction, so it would not meet an examiner's requirement for the correct answer to be a participial clause.

I understand.

Thank you very much indeed. I appreciate your time.