I had to admit ____ completely forgotten our wedding anniversary.


I had to admit ____ completely forgotten our wedding anniversary.

a) to having

b) to have

c) I have

d) having

The key that the site gives is A but it should be D, as I think. So what is the correct answer?

A is the correct answer, I had to admit to having completely forgotten our wedding anniversary.
Here we are using the Perfect Participle which is a compound verb form. To form this structure we use the auxiliary verb have in its -ing form having followed by a verb in the past participle such as; done, forgotten, eaten, or stolen.
Here are some examples of the Perfect Participle:

  • having tied
  • having washed
  • having seen
  • having begun
  • having suggested

The Perfect Participle is used when we want to state that one action was completed before the other action begun, it shows that there is a time gap between the two actions.
Here is a list of examples to help you understand the concept more clearly:

  • Having brushed the floor the waitress then washed the floor with soapy water.
  • Having stolen the clothes from the shop the girl ran quickly out of the shop.
  • I had to lie down after having eaten too much food.
  • They needed a break after having worked all morning in the sun.
  • Having read the book she couldn’t wait to watch the movie.

D is incorrect as it is in the Present Participle form which doesn’t show a time gap between the two actions. You can use the Present Participle at times but if you want to distinguish between the two actions the Perfect Present is more appropriate.
Below I have written sentences in the Perfect Participle and in the Present Participle to show you the difference the Present Participle makes to a sentence:

  • Perfect Participle: Having returned from the shop I made dinner.
  • Present Participle: Returning from the shop I made dinner.

As you can see from the sentences above, when using the Present Participle the two actions may appear to be happening at the same time. The Perfect Participle helps us distinguish between the two actions.

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