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  1. #1
    mamaheol is offline Newbie
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    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.

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    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.

  3. #3
    mamaheol is offline Newbie
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    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.

  4. #4
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Participles as modifiers

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

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