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    #1

    present participle, thinking

    Dear teachers,

    Thinking about Mr.B. it seemed perfectly sensible to cheat.

    I think this sentence is grammatically wrong, because the logical subject doesn't agree with the real subject. Is that right?

    For example, we say "Entering the room he found......". We can't say "Entering the room something was there". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

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    #2

    Re: present participle, thinking

    It seems OK to me. I can see it it as: Thinking about Mr.B. it seemed perfectly sensible (for me) to cheat. A purist might object, but most of us don't worry too much about that sort of thing. It is not as as bad as: Entering the room, something was there

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    #3

    Re: present participle, thinking

    I agree with 5jj.

    While teachers and purists may object to these forms, when it's clear who is doing the verb-ing, it's not really a crisis if that subject is not the first word to appear after the comma.

    While we can often laugh at sentences like "Hanging in the closet for year, I had forgotten all about that blue dress" there is not even a chance of true misunderstanding.

    You should try to avoid them if you can, but don't be surprised by them and don't waste your time wondering about whether they are "really" correct. They aren't, but we largely don't care.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: present participle, thinking

    Hi fivejedjon,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see.
    In grammar test this is definitely wrong. That's why I felt puzzled.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It seems OK to me. I can see it it as: Thinking about Mr.B. it seemed perfectly sensible (for me) to cheat. A purist might object, but most of us don't worry too much about that sort of thing. It is not as as bad as: Entering the room, something was there

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    #5

    Re: present participle, thinking

    Dear Barb_D,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    This is something interesting. In grammar test it is definitely wrong (that's why I felt confused). But in real situation it can be used!!

    Have a nice weekend.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I agree with 5jj.

    While teachers and purists may object to these forms, when it's clear who is doing the verb-ing, it's not really a crisis if that subject is not the first word to appear after the comma.

    While we can often laugh at sentences like "Hanging in the closet for year, I had forgotten all about that blue dress" there is not even a chance of true misunderstanding.

    You should try to avoid them if you can, but don't be surprised by them and don't waste your time wondering about whether they are "really" correct. They aren't, but we largely don't care.

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    #6

    Re: present participle, thinking

    If that were the only mistake my learners made, I would be a very happy teacher.

    I would not put a sentence such as yours in a grammar test. It seems to me to be pointless to penalise a learner for a 'mistake' that many native speakers make.

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    #7

    Re: present participle, thinking

    As others have pointed out, the use of so-called "hanging" participles is always conversationally acceptable provided it does not result in ambiguity (comical or otherwise). With an impersonal 'it' as subject, there is clearly no danger whatsoever in this case.

    It may also be of interest to note that certain hanging participles are even formally acceptable, e.g. 'speaking' in a sentence such as

    Legally speaking, there is no problem.

    (= from a legal viewpoint)

    and that a number of words now functioning as prepositions, such as 'regarding' and 'concerning', also started life as simple hanging participles!

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    #8

    Re: present participle, thinking

    Hi fivejedjon,

    This grammatical rule is one of the essential part of grammar. We dwell a lot on it.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If that were the only mistake my learners made, I would be a very happy teacher.

    I would not put a sentence such as yours in a grammar test. It seems to me to be pointless to penalise a learner for a 'mistake' that many native speakers make.

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    #9

    Re: present participle, thinking

    Hi philo2009,

    Thank you so much for your explanation. But this brings up another problem.
    According to my grammar book, your example is "independent element". Similar examples are "Generally speaking", "Weather permitting". I get totally confused.
    And for example, is it correct to say "Based on the facts I wrote this report"? Or should it be "Based on the facts a report was written"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    As others have pointed out, the use of so-called "hanging" participles is always conversationally acceptable provided it does not result in ambiguity (comical or otherwise). With an impersonal 'it' as subject, there is clearly no danger whatsoever in this case.

    It may also be of interest to note that certain hanging participles are even formally acceptable, e.g. 'speaking' in a sentence such as

    Legally speaking, there is no problem.

    (= from a legal viewpoint)

    and that a number of words now functioning as prepositions, such as 'regarding' and 'concerning', also started life as simple hanging participles!

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    #10

    Re: present participle, thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    This grammatical rule is one of the essential parts of grammar. We dwell a lot on it.
    It may be essential to you, and you may spend a lot of time on it, but as three native speakers, a teacher (BrE) , a writer (AmE) and an academic (BrE), have noted, we don't.

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