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    #1

    held it trembling

    1-He picked up his sword and held it trembling in front of me.
    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it trembling in his hand.

    3-He held it trembling.
    4-He held it, trembling.

    Can we say what or who is trembling in each case?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: held it trembling

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    1-He picked up his sword and held it trembling in front of me.
    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it trembling in his hand.

    3-He held it trembling.
    4-He held it, trembling.

    Can we say what or who is trembling in each case?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.
    They are ambiguous. In order to be completely sure that it is the man who is trembling, we would have to say:

    - He picked up his sword and, trembling, held it in front of me.
    - He picked up the young pigeon and, trembling, held it in his hand.
    - He, trembling, held it. (Unnatural)

    I can't construct a sentence for the one with the sword to make it clear that the sword is trembling but, to be fair, swords don't tremble on their own. If the sword is trembling then it is because the man's hand is trembling.

    For the pigeon, "He picked up the young trembling pigeon and held it in his hand" makes it clear that the pigeon is trembling.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: held it trembling

    Thank you very much Emsr2d2,

    I thought:

    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it trembling in his hand.

    was unambiguous. And:

    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it, trembling, in his hand.


    was the ambiguous version.

    It seems to me that in "2", "it" is "trembling in his hand". I am not a native-speaker and I might be wrong. I have been quite a few times. I am just double-checking. No offense.

    Gratefully.
    Navi.


  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: held it trembling

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Thank you very much Emsr2d2,

    I thought:

    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it trembling in his hand.

    was unambiguous. And:

    2-He picked up the young pigeon and held it, trembling, in his hand.


    was the ambiguous version.

    It seems to me that in "2", "it" is "trembling in his hand". I am not a native-speaker and I might be wrong. I have been quite a few times. I am just double-checking. No offense.

    Gratefully.
    Navi.

    I agree with you. In my view "held it (pigeon) trembling in his (the man's) hand" is clearly referring to a trembling pigeon.

    In the second version, the commas around "trembling" make it unclear who was trembling. At least for me.

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