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  1. #1
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    Default Functions of participial phrases

    I am trying to understand why participial phrases cannot be termed as adverbials. After all, I understand that adverbials answer the questions how, where, when and why actions happen. If this is the case, what is wrong with this example?

    He sprained his ankle playing football.

    How did he hurt his leg?
    playing football.

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    mara_ce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Present participles, verbals ending in -ing, and past participles, verbals that end in -ed (for regular verbs) or other forms (for irregular verbs), are combined with complements and modifiers and become part of important phrasal structures.
    Participial phrases always act as adjectives.
    http://www.eslgold.com/grammar/participial_phrases.html
    Last edited by mara_ce; 19-Jul-2009 at 17:33.

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    ptetpe is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    IMHO this seems like a SVOA, because playing football can be put into initial position.

    Playing football,he sprained his ankle.

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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I am trying to understand why participial phrases cannot be termed as adverbials. After all, I understand that adverbials answer the questions how, where, when and why actions happen. If this is the case, what is wrong with this example?

    He sprained his ankle playing football.

    How did he hurt his leg?
    playing football.
    I agree. The phrase "playing football" tells how he sprained or hurt his leg. I've read an article online that speaks of how many ESL grammars don't address this structure or grammar topic.


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    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I am trying to understand why participial phrases cannot be termed as adverbials. After all, I understand that adverbials answer the questions how, where, when and why actions happen. If this is the case, what is wrong with this example?

    He sprained his ankle playing football.

    How did he hurt his leg?
    playing football.

    I would rearrange the words in this sentence:

    Playing football, he sprained his ankle.

    The arguments in favour of adjectival interpretation and adverbial interpretation both have their own merits, in my opinion.
    OWL says adjectival,
    Verbals: Gerunds, Participles, and Infinitives: Participles - The OWL at Purdue
    CGEL says adverbial.


    He was playing football and he sprained his ankle (during the play). '(P)laying' describes (what) he (was doing). It says something about 'he', about what he was doing. Adjectival.
    or
    While he was playing, he sprained... -- 'while' introduces the temporal (adverbial) clause that modifies the verb 'sprained'.
    Temporal ('When?' and not 'How?') adverbial.
    Last edited by svartnik; 18-Jul-2009 at 04:54.

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Hey Svartnik, how's things? Beat up David L yet?

    I must contradict you here:

    '(P)laying' describes (what) he (was doing). It says something about 'he', about what he was doing. Adjectival.

    Playing football is an adverbial.

    Anything that describes what he was doing is an adverb. It says nothing about 'he' and 'was' here is not the linking verb 'was'.

    Nor can playing football be construed as an adjective.

    *A playing football man.

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    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Hey Svartnik, how's things? Beat up David L yet?
    The problem with him is that he thinks he is cleverer than he thinks he is. And that he thinks he is cleverer than anyone else. More precisely, the problem is, he overtly projects his inflated ego in the fora. I would like to check his competence in quantum electrodynamics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    I must contradict you here:
    Please do not feel you have to tread on eggshells with me. Pedro, this sentence is superfluous. If you say you want to tell your version, it already implies that it will be something totally different from mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    '(P)laying' describes (what) he (was doing). It says something about 'he', about what he was doing. Adjectival.

    Playing football is an adverbial.

    Anything that describes what he was doing is an adverb. It says nothing about 'he' and 'was' here is not the linking verb 'was'.

    Nor can playing football be construed as an adjective.

    *A playing football man.
    I let you in on my secret thoughts:

    True linking verbs. What the hell is that?

    Some words are always linking verbs. These are considered "true." They do not describe the action, but always connect the subject to additional information. The most common true linking verbs are forms of 'to be'.

    I am playing football.

    My analysis is this:

    Let us get over with the irrelevant part 'football'. This element in the sentence is the objective complement of the action expressed by the participle.

    I am playing

    'am playing' is the finite V. 'am' acts as an auxiliary to the non-finite verb 'playing' (-ing participle form). Why do non-finite verbs need help, why do they need an auxiliary sometimes?
    They need them because they are lacking the power to express the tense - non-past in the sentence is expressed by the the choice of form of the copula 'be' - aspect, mood of an action expressed by the verb phrase.

    I am playing. What is the function of the complement of the copula: 'playing'?
    So far I have learnt about predicate nominals:

    I am svartnik, where 'svartnik' is the pred nom.

    I am not competent. 'competent' is a pred adj.

    I am here. What is 'here'? an adverb? It describes the I of the speaker and not the helping verb 'is', whose mere function is to express tense and link the subject to an extra information about it. To an information that describes the subject.

    And the same is the story here:

    I am playing -- 'playing' is an additional info about the subject, it describes the speaker of I. Describing nouns by adverbs.

    What do you think, pedro?

    Nor can playing football be construed as an adjective.
    *A playing football man.
    Do you think this test is reliable in light of what I said above? If so, please show me the errors of my ways.

    svartnik
    Last edited by svartnik; 18-Jul-2009 at 10:31.

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    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    He sprained his ankle playing football.
    There's nothing wrong with this sentence. Who told you there was?

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    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Hey Svartnik, I like that, -ing forms as adjectives. That will give some very different tree diagrams. I didn't think of that. Of course if they can be nouns they can be adjectives too.
    But in:
    He sprained his ankle playing football.

    'playing football' is an adverbial.

    If I rearrange my example slightly, it works:

    A football playing man is a happy man. A man playing football is a happy man.

    I'll have to think about the status of playing in: He should have been playing football.

  10. #10
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Functions of participial phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    There's nothing wrong with this sentence. Who told you there was?
    Nobody said it is incorrect, in my opinion.

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