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Thread: Part of Speech

  1. #1
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    Default Part of Speech

    Hi all,

    Need advice on this simple question:
    I stood there laughing at my cousin.

    Can somebody describe the part of speech ot the sentence, especially the part for "laughing at my cousin". Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Not a teacher.
    In my grammar book they write: 'When two things happen at the same time, you can use -ing for one of the verbs. The main clause usually comes first: Do something! Don't just stand there doing nothing!

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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by ha179 View Post
    Not a teacher.
    In my grammar book they write: 'When two things happen at the same time, you can use -ing for one of the verbs. The main clause usually comes first: Do something! Don't just stand there doing nothing!
    Hi... But what is the part of speech of the second verb? Is it still a verb? or do we consider it a clause? Thanks.

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    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    It is a participial phrase that functions as an adverb, and it describes the verb stood.

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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    It is a participial phrase that functions as an adverb, and it describes the verb stood.
    Hi Kondorosi,

    I found the following priceless older thread which explain this participial phrase and they didn't really agree on whether this phrase is adjectival or adverbial phrase:

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/as...ectives-3.html

    But surely they had a good discussion! Thanks.

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    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    According to their relative position to the thing they describe (NP), how many types of adjectives do the English grammar recognize?

    AFAIK, three:

    - attributive
    - postpositive
    - predicate

    The position of the participial phrase in your sentence does not match any of these. Furthermore,

    Laughing at my cousin, I stood there.
    I stood there laughing at my cousin

    Is it not adverbials whose position we can change with relative freedom?
    What do you think?
    Last edited by Kondorosi; 23-Nov-2009 at 16:01.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    The function of words that end in -ing can be tough to figure out--that's a given--but here's a way that will hopefully make it easier for you.

    First, determine the word's position in the sentence. If it sits in a subject or object position, it's a gerund, a noun:


    • I stood there laughing at my cousin.


    The word laughing, above, is neither a subject (it doesn't have a verb) nor an object (the verb stood is intransitive by default and the word there is an adverb, not a preposition; that is, prepositions take objects, adverbs never). In short, laughing is not a gerund.


    Second, insert the same subject plus a form of the verb BE before the -ing word to see if it is a present participle:


    • I stood there. I was laughing at my cousin.



    Third, and final test: rephrase the statement with ... as ..., like this:


    • I stood there laughing = I laughed as I stood there.


    As you can see, the -ing word in question is a present participle, and its function is to modify the subject:


    • I laughing at my cousin stood there.


    A note on -ing adverbs
    I'm trying to think of adverbs that end on -ing, and I just can't think of any. To my knowledge, I don't know of any adverbs that end in -ing, -ingly, yes, but not -ing. If you know of some, let me know. Moreover, if there are -ing adverbs, then they would answer the questions How?, When?, Where?, as in the underlined phrase here:
    • She was standing in a laughing position

    wherein the entire prepositional phrase in a ... position functions adverbially and word laughing functions adjectivally: it describes the noun position.

    ________________________
    Learn more here about present participles:


    From Present Participle in English grammar

    When two actions occur at the same time, and are done by the same person or thing, we can use a present participle to describe one of them:

    They went out into the snow. They laughed as they went. They went laughing out into the snow.

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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Thanks Soup! I am going to take a seat in a corner and muse.

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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    Thanks Soup! I am going to take a seat in a corner and muse.
    Sounds really nice.

    By the way, have a look here when you get a chance. I'd like to know what you think. (By the way I am Casiopea in that discussion.)

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    Default Re: Part of Speech

    Professor Villa was amazed by her students working as hard as they did.

    The non-finite clause is clearly adjectival to me. No gerund. Participle. I do not have a dual reading of the sentence. The participial clause complements the agent (students). I can see some analogy between the complementation of direct objects (objective complements) and the complementation at hand. Was he amazed by her students? No. He was amazed by her students working as hard as they did.

    The students worked really hard and this amazed the prof.

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