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  1. #1
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Default Participal Construction? (#2)

    Dear professional teachers and native speakers,

    One of the references I encountered says a sentence like the following is a participial construction whose subject is the same between the main clause and the (original) adverb clause. Is it really true? In other words, is the subject in the modifying phrase ("allowing companies to start up such businesses") "Archive services that copy and store information on websites"??

    (Example)
    "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, allowing companies to start up such businesses."


    To me, the phrase "allowing companies to start up such businesses" seems to be modifying the whole main clause ("Archive services...under the revised law") though... Therefore, in my understanding, the sentence can be re-written like this: "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, which allows companies to start up such businesses." Is my understanding wrong?
    Someone, please, please help me

  2. #2
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    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Try looking at it this way,

    Archive services could also become legal under the revised law.

    The revised law would allow companies to start up such businesses.


  3. #3
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Dear professional teachers and native speakers,

    One of the references I encountered says a sentence like the following is a participial construction whose subject is the same between the main clause and the (original) adverb clause. Is it really true? In other words, is the subject in the modifying phrase ("allowing companies to start up such businesses") "Archive services that copy and store information on websites"??

    (Example)
    "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, allowing companies to start up such businesses."


    To me, the phrase "allowing companies to start up such businesses" seems to be modifying the whole main clause ("Archive services...under the revised law") though... Therefore, in my understanding, the sentence can be re-written like this: "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, which allows companies to start up such businesses." Is my understanding wrong?
    Someone, please, please help me
    This is definitely a participial construction but it seems impossible to find any reference to this type in grammar books or on websites dealing with grammar.


    Normally, as you say, the two subjects should be the same but in this case, the participial construction modifies the whole of the main clause ("Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law). One could compare it to a relative clause referring back to the whole of the preceding main clause.



    You ask if it could be re-written like this: "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, which allows companies to start up such businesses." I would hesitate to agree: this re-phrased sentence implies that the participial construction (for which you substitute a relative clause) refers back only to the noun phrase the revised law. This might change the meaning slightly.


    What about re-phrasing it like this: : "The fact that archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law would allow companies to start up such businesses." ?

  4. #4
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Dear naomimalan,

    I see, thank you for your comments and advice.
    So, do you have a diffferent opinion from Soup's, which suggests that I should think that "allowing" modifies/refers back to "the revised law"? In other words, you suggest that I should think that "allowing" refers back to the main clause ("Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law"), not only "the revised law". Is my understanding correct?

  5. #5
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Dear naomimalan,

    I see, thank you for your comments and advice.
    So, do you have a diffferent opinion from Soup's, which suggests that I should think that "allowing" modifies/refers back to "the revised law"? Did he say that? That's not quite what I understood. In other words, you suggest that I should think that "allowing" refers back to the main clause ("Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law"), not only "the revised law". Is my understanding correct? Yes
    As I suggested, it seems to me there could be a slight difference between the two interpretations.
    - If the participial phrase refers back merely to the noun phrase, "the revised law", then one concludes that companies will definitely be able to "to start up such businesses" once the revised law comes into effect.

    - if the participial refers back to the whole of the main clause, then companies will not necessarily be able to "to start up such businesses" once the revised law comes into effect. I say this because, in the main clause, there is an element of doubt about the archive services in question becoming legal: they "could also become legal" (so if they don't become legal under the revised law, then companies won't be able to start up such businesses.)
    Last edited by naomimalan; 30-May-2008 at 13:35.

  6. #6
    gorikaz is offline Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Thank you for your help and comments.
    I have got it!

  7. #7
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    Quote Originally Posted by gorikaz View Post
    Dear professional teachers and native speakers,

    One of the references I encountered says a sentence like the following is a participial construction whose subject is the same between the main clause and the (original) adverb clause. Is it really true? In other words, is the subject in the modifying phrase ("allowing companies to start up such businesses") "Archive services that copy and store information on websites"??

    (Example)
    "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, allowing companies to start up such businesses."


    To me, the phrase "allowing companies to start up such businesses" seems to be modifying the whole main clause ("Archive services...under the revised law") though... Therefore, in my understanding, the sentence can be re-written like this: "Archive services that copy and store information on websites could also become legal under the revised law, which allows companies to start up such businesses." Is my understanding wrong?
    Someone, please, please help me
    It seems you mix up two notions: the doer (or subject) of the action and the characterized event. Let me give a simpler sentence for clarity:
    e.g. He sat in a big armchair, smoking a pipe.
    The actions expressed by the verb 'sat' and the participle 'smoking' have the same doer - 'He'. Semantically 'smoking' expresses an action that accompanies the event presented in the modified part of the sentence. In terms of syntax 'smoking a pipe' is not a clause but a participial phrase which functions as adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances.

  8. #8
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Participal Construction? (#2)

    In your original sentence the relation between the participial phrase and the modified part of the sentence may also involve a cause-consequence idea.

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