"Looking at" or "Looked at"?

  1. ________ at in this way, the present economic situation doesn’t seem so gloomy. (2000-51)
    A. Looking B. Looked C. Having looked D. To look

  2. _______ at in his way, the situation doesn’t seem so desperate. ( 2007-64)
    A. Looking B. Looked C. Being looked D. To look

These two questions appeared on TEM (Test for English Majors) in China. The answers to each question were in boldface. The answers were explained as follows:
In the first question, [color=blue]the present economic situation functions as an [color=blue]object of [color=blue]Look at, so [color=blue]past participle is used. Whereas in second question, there is the word “[color=blue]his”, from which we can infer that the [color=blue]subject of the verb [color=blue]Look at is [color=blue]He, so [color=blue]present participle is used.

Frankly speaking, I don’t quite agree with the explanations of the two questions because there are some present participles simply indicate the attitude of the person who is speaking.

But then, I came across the following examples as I was reading Research Method for English Language Teachers published by Edward rnold (Publishers) Limited.

“It is usual to make a distinction between ‘teacher training’ and ‘teacher education’, often in parallel to pre- versus in-service training. [color=blue]Looked at in another way, teachers are expected to acquire both a trainable ‘repertoire of skills’ and more generatively the educated judgment to apply and transfer those skills.” (p. 28 )

Now I am confused. Could any native speakers of English help me to clarify these two forms?

Thanks in advance,

.
The answer given for #2 is wrong. Both should be ‘looked at’. All 3 texts already include objects of ‘looked at’:

1-- the economic situation
2-- the situation
3-- teacher…skills

Looked at is of course passive: ‘Looked at [by the reader/writer]’, so the object becomes subject, and our ‘subjectless’ nonfinite clauses take (as they must) the same subject as the main clause (the economic situation, the situation, teacher…skills respectively).

Looking at is not passive, so e.g. in #1, economic situation cannot act as the subject; it is the object, but grammar does not allow us to assume this as we do of the subject-- so we must include an object:

1. Looking at it in this way, the present economic situation doesn’t seem so gloomy.
.

Hi Chunji Lin,

The important point is that the participle whether it’s present or past should be related to a subject somewhere in the rest of the sentence. Looked at in this way suggests: If it has been/is looked at in this way After this you can then put the subject to which the past participle is related-the present economic situation .

With ‘Looking at’ you will need two things (1) an object for the verb ‘looking at’ and (2) you will need a subject who/which is doing the ‘looking’. The sentence could then read: Looking at it this way, you will find the situation doesn’t seem so desperate.

I hope that makes things a little clearer.

Alan

Alan,

Do you agree with Mister Micawber’s “Looking at it in this way, the present economic situation doesn’t seem so gloomy”, which seems contradict what you suggested, “Looking at it this way, you will find the situation doesn’t seem so desperate”

One more thing to clarify. Based on your explanation, the answer given for #2 is wrong as Mister Micawber pointed out, right?