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    #1

    modifying present particle

    Dear teachers,

    The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education, providing student with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.

    does '' providing student with ongoing daily interaction with teachers '' modify the whole sentence or modify only traditional education ?

    Is there any difference if there is NO comma between education and providing ?

    Many thanks
    Last edited by duiter; 09-Dec-2010 at 10:22. Reason: delete ''a''

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    #2

    Re: modifying present particle

    Sense shows clearly that the participle phrase refers back to 'traditional education'.

    Rules governing the use of commas with participial postmodifiers essentially follow those affecting relative clauses: without comma where the sense is restrictive, but with comma where, as here, it is nonrestrictive (i.e. simply providing additional information about the referent rather than defining it).

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    #3

    Re: modifying present particle

    MY reading is this:

    The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education, that is, providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.


    "(P)roviding students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers" stands in non-restrictive apposition with "human contact".

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    #4

    Re: modifying present particle

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    MY reading is this:

    The drawback of virtual school is lack of human contact, as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education, that is, providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.


    "(P)roviding students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers" stands in non-restrictive apposition with "human contact".
    With all due respect, Corum, a rather absurd interpretation!

    Not only does the reading already offered make perfect sense, it is based on the actual order of sentence elements as they occur, without the need to postulate the presence of unrelated phrases pointlessly separating modifiers from their alleged referents (a risky practice at the best of times).

    Had the writer, feeling the need to somehow elaborate on the term 'human contact', intended your meaning, (s)he would certainly have written something like this:

    The drawback of virtual school is lack of 'human contact' (i.e. providing students with ongoing daily interaction with teachers), as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education.

    Although I would, therefore, dispute that there is more than one sensible semantic interpretation of this sentence, it ought to be pointed out that there is nevertheless some structural ambiguity, since, rather than as a participle phrase modifying 'traditional education', we could equally well construe providing...teachers as a gerund phrase, standing in apposition to the entire preceding NP, i.e. elaborating on the nature of the 'noted merit' referred to.

    Nonetheless, whichever of the two structural options we might prefer (and I think, on balance, that the gerund interpretation is slightly the more likely), the effect on overall meaning in this particular case would be minimal.

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    #5

    Re: modifying present particle

    At first I thought the "as opposed to a noted merit of traditional education" part was interpolated into the text, that it was an interruption, a lunatic idea which the set of commas seemed to justify. The more I read out the sentence loud, the more I become aware of what a fool I was.

    a noted merit of traditional education = providing student with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.
    traditional education ≠ providing student with ongoing daily interaction with teachers.

    The phrase 'traditional education' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'merit', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. That is, it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within.
    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Sense shows clearly that the participle phrase refers back to 'traditional education'.
    Can it?
    Last edited by corum; 10-Dec-2010 at 21:35.

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    #6

    Re: modifying present particle

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post

    Can it?
    IF we choose to accept providing...teachers as a participle phrase**, equivalent to the nonrestrictive relative 'which provides...', then yes, of course, it can and does.

    But, as already stated, upon re-reading I am more inclined toward the gerund-phrase construal, equating the 'merit' in question with the act of 'providing'.

    Either way, however, that act is ultimately imputed, either indirectly or directly, to 'traditional education', hence, as also stated, no significant impact on meaning.

    **the assumption on which the original question was based

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    #7

    Re: modifying present particle

    Corum, you have taken my words (below) from another thread and have quoted them in Post #5 without mentioning the reason, the author or the source. Why have you done this?


    "The phrase 'traditional education' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'merit', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. That is, it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within."

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    #8

    Re: modifying present particle

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    Corum, you have taken my words (below) from another thread and have quoted them in Post #5 without mentioning the reason, the author or the source. Why have you done this?
    I did it for the sake of argumentation. I fully agree with the content and I was just too lazy to word the idea myself. Please note that I put a set of quotation marks around the sentence, thereby signifying these are not my own words. As long as I do not do any harm with this to anyone -- or do I?; if so I apologize -- I can't see a reason why I should refrain from doing so.

    without mentioning the reason, the author or the source.
    To whom do they matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    "The phrase 'traditional education' is housed within a larger phrase, one headed by (or introduced by) 'merit', which is what our modifying phrase is attracted to, or rather sees. That is, it sees the entire phrase, not the structure within."
    If you compare the two sentences, you will see they are not the same. I am sorry if I aroused bad feelings in you.

    (Don't you think it would have been more fortunate if we had discussed this in private? )
    Last edited by corum; 11-Dec-2010 at 11:38.

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    #9

    Re: modifying present particle

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    I did it for the sake of argumentation. I fully agree with the content and I was just too lazy to word the idea myself. Please note that I put a set of quotation marks around the sentence, thereby signifying these are not my own words. As long as I do not do any harm with this to anyone -- or do I?; if so I apologize -- I can't see a reason why I should refrain from doing so.
    Obviously, it matters to me, the author of the ideas housed within the quotation marks. Please do not do this again.

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    #10

    Re: modifying present particle

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    Obviously, it matters to me, the author of the ideas housed within the quotation marks. Please do not do this again.
    I apologize.

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