asking; participal structure or?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by azuki, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. azuki Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello!

    I was wondering, in the following quote, “asking” should
    be “being asked”. Or was any word omitted between the middle of the night and “asking”, such as “from an adoption agent?

    Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?"
    (Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford Univ.)

    Please advise. Thank you!
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello azuki - welcome to WordReference :)

    The call was presenting them with a question so I think "asking" is correct, and nothing needs to be added.
     
  3. azuki Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hi panjandrum!

    So does “asking” modify a call in the sentence?

    Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?"
    (Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford Univ.)

    Thank you :)
     
  4. envie de voyager Senior Member

    Niagara Falls, Canada
    english-canadian
    If you remove a couple of clauses, then it is easier to explain this sentence.

    So my parents got a call asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?"

    So you are correct, the call is doing the asking.
     
  5. azuki Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hi envie de voyager,

    I see! Thank you!

    :)
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    If you changed it to 'being asked', then the call would be being asked a question, which would be clearly wrong. Actually, of course, it was the caller who asked the question, not the call, but we often make such short-cuts.

    e.g. I had a call from Alice, asking if she could join us this evening - grammatically it's the call which is asking, rather than Alice.
     
  7. azuki Senior Member

    Japanese
    Your explanation really helped to clarify the grammatical structure and meaning of the sentence.

    Thank you, Thomas!

    :)
     

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