What is an absolute construction? I looked it up but I don't know how to explain it in simple words and I'm not sure if I understood. Could you give me a complete and simple explanation and how it is formed?
Last edited by Amy!; 17-Aug-2011 at 05:14.
The expression is confusing, as it's not the sort of 'absolute' that means 'extreme'. It is a reference to Latin grammar.
A verb in the absolute is unrelated to the syntax of the rest of the sentence. You could remove it and still have a valid sentence, as in 'Having eaten his dinner, he went out'. 'He went out' is still a vaild sentence.
You can, often in formal writing, use just the participle: 'His dinner eaten, he went out. This sort of omission of the verb can be used colloquially in expressions like 'That said,...'
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) You have asked an excellent question, which -- sadly -- cannot be answered
in a single post.
(2) I most respectfully suggest that you go to the search box at the top of the
page and type in "absolute clause/phrase." You will find many helpful threads.
(3) Here are just three examples from one of my favorite books (Descriptive English
Grammar by Professors House and Harman):
The dance being over, we left,.
The teacher being absent, we had no school yesterday.
Weather permitting, we shall go tomorrow.
(a) The absolute constructions are in bold.
(b) As you can see, we usually do not speak like this. The absolute construction
is usually used for writing because it is more elegant and it saves a lot of words.
(i) Here is how you would say those three sentences in regular English:
(a) When the dance was over, we left.
(b) Because the teacher was absent, we had no school yesterday.
(c) If the weather permits, we shall go tomorrow.