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    #1

    Participles as modifiers

    Good evening

    I am working on an extract from the novel Small Island by Andrea Levy (a highly recommendable book, by the way), looking particularly at adjectival modifiers. I have identified the participles "avoiding", "pulling" and "closed" in the following extract as adjectives (adjectival modifiers). I would be grateful if somebody would confirm this, or, if I am wrong, tell me how to analyse these sentences.

    I stepped back down two stepsavoiding a small lump of dog's-business that rested in some litter and leaves. I straightened my coat, pulling it closed where I had unfortunately lost a button.

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Participles as modifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by mamaheol View Post
    Good evening

    I am working on an extract from the novel Small Island by Andrea Levy (a highly recommendable book, by the way), looking particularly at adjectival modifiers. I have identified the participles "avoiding", "pulling" and "closed" in the following extract as adjectives (adjectival modifiers). I would be grateful if somebody would confirm this, or, if I am wrong, tell me how to analyse these sentences.

    I stepped back down two steps, avoiding a small lump of dog's-business that rested in some litter and leaves. I straightened my coat, pulling it closed where I had unfortunately lost a button.

    Thanks.
    Participles (and -ing forms in general) are by their very nature a kind of syntactic hybrid, serving different grammatical functions: those that you cite here introduce phrases that are essentially adverbial in function, supplying information about events occurring while others occur.

    A truly adjectival (or 'adjunctive') participle phrase is quite distinctive in that it serves to identify a noun referent in the manner of a restrictive relative clause, as 'playing tennis' in

    The boy playing tennis is Peter.

    (= The boy who is playing tennis...)

    N.B. Adverbial (sometimes termed 'disjunctive') participle phrases are obligatorily set off by commas. I have inserted the missing comma before 'avoiding' in your text.


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    #3

    Re: Participles as modifiers

    Thank you for your quick and clarifying reply. I am also trying to understand the following sentence:

    It was true that some were missing, replaced by cardboard and strips of white tape.

    ("Some" referring to ornate pillars at the doorway of a house).

    As far as I can tell, "missing" has an adjectival function, following the linking verb "to be", but what is the function of the phrase "replaced by cardboard and strips of white tape"?

    Thanks.

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    #4

    Re: Participles as modifiers

    It is simply elliptical for 'and they had been replaced...'

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