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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    #1

    Verbals

    I don’t know when and where to use verbal or verbal phrase:

    The bird singing is a robin. Does it mean a bird is singing right now is a robin? ‘singing’ emphasizes the present continuous tense? Or it describes ‘the bird’, functions as an adjective? But I think there should be a Be-verb before ‘singing’ whatever if it represents the tense which is going on now or an adjective because in my concepts, ‘Be-verb’ + ‘present participle’ = present continuous tense. e.g. She IS PLAYING. Also, ‘Be-verb’ + ‘adjective’ e.g. I AM HAPPY.

    There are more examples here which show you my point:
    e.g. 1) The immigrants having learned Englsh, their opportunities widen. What is the participle in the underlined part? I think ‘having’ and ‘learned’ are both participles. Still, the verbal ‘having learned’, what’s it function? Why not say: The immigrants have learned ...?
    2) When working with James, keep in mind the following: …… working with James is just a word group, it is not a clause. But I think we need a clause here. so it should be When you work with James … What’s the use of the verbal ‘working’ here?
    3) Anyone coming to see my home? Is this sentence right? Why? I think it should be ‘ IS anyone coming to see my home’?
    4) Whoever seemed slightly interested was invited to an open meeting. Verbal ‘seemed’, still no ‘Be-verb”? I think it seems to represent the passive action. “Be-verb” + “past participle” = passive action. I found out a lot of passive sentences omit the ‘be-verb’, I don’t know why. Short-handed?

    Hope you can tell me the uses of the verbals in the sentences I gave above. Also, could you tell me when and where to use present participle ‘ing’ verbals ; and when and where to use past participle ‘ed’ verbals? Thanks so much!

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    #2

    Re: Verbals

    In the example of the robin, the participle is functioning to specify which bird, so at the time of speaking, the bird was singing. It's a reduced form of 'the bird that/which is singing'.
    1- This doesn't strike me as correct. I would say 'Those immigrants who have learned...'
    2- Again, it's an elliptical form- When I am working.... You could use 'when I work' as well.
    3- A coloquial form, where the verb 'is' has been omitted, which is a common feature in spoken language.
    4- No need for 'be' here- it's an active verb.

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Verbals

    Quote Originally Posted by MIA6 View Post
    The bird singing is a robin.
    Context
    The sentence (normally expressed as "The bird that is singing is a robin") is a comment on a scene in which at least two birds appear. Only one bird is singing. The speaker comments that the bird that is singing is a robin. Why does he do that? Perhaps he wishes to identify the bird for someone (who is unfamiliar with robins). Was he asked to do that or did he volunteer that information? We do not know. Was it daytime or nighttime? Was it sunny or overcast? We don't know. All we know for sure is that there were at least two birds and that one of them was singing. That bird--the singing bird--was a robin.

    Grammar
    the only verb in the sentence is is.


    Quote Originally Posted by MIA6 View Post
    1) The immigrants having learned Englsh, their opportunities widen.

    I struggled to make a sentence with "The immigrants having learned English" but I could not do it. Perhaps:
    The immigrants after they learned English found that their horizons expanded and their opportunities widened.
    Quote Originally Posted by MIA6 View Post
    3) Anyone coming to see my home? Is this sentence right? Why? I think it should be ‘ IS anyone coming to see my home’?
    In speech (especially informal speech) it is common to leave words out especially when the omitted word would normally be understood by the listener. Example: "Anybody see my hat?"


    4) Whoever seemed slightly interested was invited to an open meeting. Verbal ‘seemed’, still no ‘Be-verb”? I think it seems to represent the passive action. “Be-verb” + “past participle” = passive action. I found out a lot of passive sentences omit the ‘be-verb’, I don’t know why. Short-handed?

    Quote Originally Posted by MIA6 View Post
    Hope you can tell me the uses of the verbals in the sentences I gave above. Also, could you tell me when and where to use present participle ‘ing’ verbals ; and when and where to use past participle ‘ed’ verbals? Thanks so much!
    Hopefully there will be more discussion of verbals which will help you with your understanding of that form.

    ~R

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