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    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 2

    adjective phrases & adverbial phrases

    Hello. I came across this wonderful site and registered hoping to get some help. My questions are as follows.

    Are these sentences are correct and have the same meaning?
    I, standing there, saw her.
    I saw her, standing there.
    Standing there, I saw her.

    “Standing there” is an adjective phrase, which modifies “I”?
    I, (who was) standing there, saw her.
    “Standing there” modifies her?
    I saw her, (who was) standing there or I saw her when I was standing there.
    An adverbial phrase, which is reduced from an adverb clause?
    (While I was) standing there, I saw her.

    Can adverbial phrases be used at the end of sentences? Your examples would be highly appreciated.

    She was sitting in the kitchen, waiting for breakfast.
    (She was sitting in the kitchen as she was waiting for breakfast) Underlined is an adverbial phrase?

    Buster was sitting on his couch, deep in concentration.
    1. (Buster was sitting on his couch, (while he was) deep in concentration)
    2. (Buster was sitting on his couch, (who was) deep in concentration) Is this even possible?
    3. Buster who was deep in concentration was sitting on his couch.
    Which one is right?

    I’ve read an English grammar book by Betty Azar, published by Longman. Examples shown in that book are clear and easy to understand, but as I read articles in the news or books, the adjective phrases and adverbial phrases are complicated. It’s difficult to distinguish between adjective phrases and adverbial phrase when they are used especially at the end of sentences.

    I would very appreciate it if someone could explain these in detail.

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    Re: adjective phrases & adverbial phrases

    Hello Starwave, welcome to UsingEnglish!

    I would say that your analysis of the meaning of 1 and 3 is correct. However, it seems to me that the "standing" clause in #1 could be interpreted as a reduced adverbial ("I, while I was...") equally with #3.

    #2 is ambiguous: we do not know who was standing there, the subject or the girl.

    Adverbial phrases can indeed end sentences, as in your "breakfast" example.

    In the "Buster" example, I would take "deep" as a post-positional adjective: there is no need to treat it as a reduction.

    To turn to your last and more general question: I am not entirely sure it is necessary to attempt to distinguish between adverbial and adjectival phrases, in examples of this kind. For instance, although it is possible to interpret the "standing" clause in #3 as a reduced adverbial, the clause itself has an adjectival force: it tells us something about "I" which does not necessarily coincide with the duration of the "seeing".

    In other words, perhaps a reduced adverbial clause can become (in effect) an adjectival clause.

    Best wishes,

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 2

    Re: adjective phrases & adverbial phrases

    MrPedantic, thank you so much for your kind reply!
    Your explanation was very helpful. If I come up with more questions, then I will post them again. Thank you again!!

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