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different positions of participial phrase Vs meaning

Discussion in 'English Only' started by HifaMo, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Hi,

    Will the meaning change, if we changed the position of the participial phrase?

    For example:
    -Having been performing non-stop for two hours, the singer had to take a break.

    - The singer having been performing non-stop for two hours had to take a break.
    Source: mine

    Is the phrase still called 'participial clause' even if the position changed?

    Thanks.
     
  2. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    Where does the example come from, Hifa? There is something fishy about it, something I just don't like. :confused: I would be happy with those examples:
    Having performed non-stop for two hours, the singer had to take a break.
    The singer,having performed non-stop for two hours, had to take a break.

    Yes, I think those are participial phrases, dangling modifiers, attaching themselves to the subject of the matrix sentence. And the meaning does not change, I reckon.
    In special circumstances the following may also be possible:
    The singer had to take a break, having performed non-stop for two hours.
     
  3. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I agree with boozer: "having performed" is preferable to "having been performing." Once you start moving the phrase around in the sentence, you need to keep it fenced off with commas.

    There isn't any change in meaning, although in longer or more complex sentences moving the phrase around from the noun it's modifying can lead to confusion ("dangling").
     
  4. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    But I have learned that when a clause or a phrase is restrictive or essential for the meaning of the sentence, as in the above sentence, it is not set off with a comma.
    Thanks.
     
  5. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    Are you saying there was more than one singer and you are describing only the one who performed continuously for two hours?
     
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    It's not restrictive. At least, it isn't necessarily restrictive.

    The artist, who had performed non-stop for 2 hours, had to take a break. = Here the "who"-clause just fleshes out the meaning of the sentence; it gives us more of a reason for why she had to take a break and thus expands on the underlying meaning of the sentence.

    The artist who had performed non-stop for 2 hours had to take a break. = The implication here is that the "who"-clause tells us which artist had to take a break. It wasn't the artist who had performed non-stop for one hour; it wasn't the artist who had performed for two hours but who had taken two breaks in that time. It was only this one artist.

    To return to your original sentence:
    That phrase is explicitly non-restrictive. (If it were restrictive, it would have to follow the word "artist.") So that's why we have commas around it when it wanders around in the sentence.
     
  7. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Are you trying to say that the difference between putting a participial phrase in the beginning or after what it describes is a matter of restrictive and non-restrictive. In other words, do you mean that if a phrase is restrictive, we put it after what it describes; if it is non restrictive we put it in the beginning?
     
  8. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If it's restrictive - and is a participial phrase - yes, it needs to go after the noun it modifies. Non-restrictive participial phrases can move around.

    Made out of the purest gold, this crown is one of the most spectacular treasures in the royal collection.
    This crown, made out of the purest gold, is one of the most spectacular treasures in the royal collection.
    We only want the crowns made out of the purest gold. Throw the other ones away.
     
  9. DKas Junior Member

    i think it's the same. Given the fact that it still works as an added description to the phrase. Which's the work of participial phrases.
     
  10. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Note: "restrictive" means it should not be set off by commas.
    I think , the above quotations contradict each other.

    In all cases, I found something relevant to our discussion.

    "When a participle phrase concludes a main clause and is describing the word right in front of it, you need no punctuation to connect the two sentence parts."

    Example: The horse trotting up to the fence hopes that you have an apple or carrot.
    chompchomp.com: The Participle Phrase

    Thanks.
     
  11. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If you can move the phrase, then it is non-restrictive. Therefore it needs commas.

    In the example with the horse, the phrase tells you which horse is hoping this. It's restrictive. And it can't be moved.
     
  12. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    I think it can: Trotting up to the fence, the horse hopes that you have an apple or carrot.

    After I searched, I found that the place of the participial phrase has nothing to do with restrictive or non-restrictive.

    "
    A participial phrase is flexible, a structure that can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. Participial phrases may be arranged to show a sequence of actions, as in the "pinball" sentence just seen. They may also be set up to show that two or more actions are occurring at the same time.
    Though you can shift a participial phrase to different positions, don't risk awkwardness or confusion by placing it too far from the word it modifies."

    grammar.about.com: Creating and Arranging Participial Phrases

    Thank you for taking the time.[h=1][/h]
     
  13. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Trust me, a native speaker understands this sentence:
    ... differently from this sentence:
    The first one means "As it's trotting / While it trots up to the fence, the horse..."; the second means "The horse that is trotting..."
     
  14. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, boo.

    "Yes, I think those are participial phrases, dangling modifiers, ..."

    My impression is that you're putting under the same roof two guests who have very little in common. Isn't a "dangling modifier" a syntactic m i s t a k e (something that should be avoided)?
    Or am I wrong?

    GS
     
  15. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Yes, I understood what you meant, lucas-sp.
    I appreciate your help.
     
  16. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    Ciao, Giorgio :)

    Wrong - no, I don't think you are. I may have been, if anything. :) However, most modifiers may begin to 'dangle' depending on how they are used. They will normally attach themselves to either the sentence subject or, unexpectedly, to the nearest noun. Especially if a comma is not used.
    I saw the doctor putting on my pants.
    I saw the doctor, putting on my pants.
    Putting on my pants, I saw the doctor.

    This was why I took the liberty of using the word 'dangling'.
     
  17. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I completely agree - dangling modifiers and participial phrases have entirely too much in common! All modifiers can and do dangle, thanks to the flexibility of English syntax - our goal as good writers is to contain their dangling as much as possible.
     
  18. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Could you please explain why you think so?

    I used "having been performing" instead of "having performed" because it refers to the past perfect continuous which goes with "for two hours."


    Thanks.
     
  19. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I think we usually perform a "tense simplification" with past participles active, and transform "having been [verb]ing" to "having [verb]ed", regardless of the tense logic. Perhaps this is an unexploited opportunity for prescriptivists!
    I think that this structure with verbs of perception such as "saw" is a special case. The structure "subject - verb - object - participle qualifying the object - (optional) object" is part of everyday spoken English: we expect to hear it after any verb of perception. Boozer's other examples, and certainly HifaMo's examples in his first post, are quite different: they mostly occur in (rather literary) writing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  20. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, Hifa.

    Maybe if we change the verb, it'll become more understandable (and acceptable).
    Let's suppose I've been in Jedda for two years, teaching English to the local oil refineries workers. I might feel the need for a change. I think I might be inclined to say:
    "Having lived in Saudi Arabia for two years now, I badly feel the need for a good old cold and foggy Italian winter."
    I do not think I'd feel the need for a Present Perfect Continuous:
    "? Having been living in Saudi Arabia for two years now, I badly feel the need for bla, bla, bla..."

    Best.

    GS
     
  21. HifaMo

    HifaMo Senior Member

    Arabic
    Thanks.
    The examples of Saudi Arabia and Oil caught my attention. :D
    It was certainly because of my native language. By the way, I live in Morocco, near Italy, no oil. :D

    Thanks.
     

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