[Grammar] Verbless Clause? Ellipsis? HELP, PLEASE!!!!

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MelisaM

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Hello, people! This is my first time here, and I really hope this 'friendship' lasts long!

I'm having some problems with the following... clause? phrase? in bold pink :shock: (I'll type almost the whole sentence for you to understand my doubt better):

"That purpose was accomplished; the bus should have been allowed to run down and then stop, the driver asleep at the wheel, the passengers sitting docilely with their mouths wide open, waiting for the bus to fly away,(...) and then a great storm to scour the whole dirty earth down to clean rock and flame."


Ok, so... help me please!!!! ==> Is it a verbless relative clause ("the driver who was asleep at the wheel")? Or is it just that there is an ellipsis of the verb ("the driver was asleep...") and it is all functioning as an adverbial clause (for example, "While the driver was asleep at the wheel?") And last but not least, if it is not an adverbial clause, then what is its relation to the other clauses (i.e. to the rest of the sentence)?
I know I'm missing something...:oops: That's why I'll appreciate any help!!!!

Thanks in advance people!!!:hi:
 
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*** Not A Teacher nor a native speaker ***

This is absolutely wrong "the driver asleep at the wheel". You can say "the asleep driver at the wheel......."
The best and easily understand is "the driver slept at the wheel".
By the way, asleep isn't a verb its adjective.

"the driver asleep at the wheel". :cross:
"the driver slept at the wheel". :tick:
 
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*** Not A Teacher nor a native speaker ***

This is absolutely wrong "the driver asleep at the wheel". You can say "the asleep driver at the wheel......."
The best and easily understand is "the driver slept at the wheel".
By the way, asleep isn't a verb its adjective.

"the driver asleep at the wheel". :cross:
"the driver slept at the wheel". :tick:

I'm afraid that you are wrong on two counts! Firstly, you cannot say *the asleep driver: 'asleep' is a predicate-only adjective, which means that, unlike a typical (attributive) adjective, it cannot stand immediately before its referent.

Secondly, the original sentence is perfectly correct as written: it exemplifies a kind of phrase known technically as a nominative absolute, in which a NP separated from the rest of the sentence serves a kind of adverbial function. It is semantically the same as saying 'with the driver (being) asleep at the wheel'.
 
Well thank you! But I think you didn't quite catch what I was asking... See, in the first place, the extract is taken form a book, "Room at the Top", by John Brain. I only had to analyze some sentences. Secondly, I know "asleep" IS an adjective, but IT CANNOT GO BEFORE A NOUN! (sorry but I think you cannot say the asleep driver....check in a dictionary and tell me what you found!). And thirdly... as there ISN'T a verb, I'm asking if it is a VERBLESS clause... see my point? ;-)

Thanks anyway, regards! :up:

P.D.: You know? I've just found out that "asleep at the wheel" is a fixed expression meaning "not paying attention to a situation, so that something bad happens"
 
Thank you so much philo2009!!!
That's exactly what I was asking... So, it IS functioning as an adverbial clause, isn't it? :-D
 
Thank you so much philo2009!!!
That's exactly what I was asking... So, it IS functioning as an adverbial clause, isn't it? :-D

As an adverbial, yes. Traditionally, it would be called simply an adverbial phrase, but in more contemporary parlance it could be described as an elliptical verbless (adverbial) clause.
 
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