why 'verb + ing' should be next to thereby?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Scala, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Scala Junior Member

    Korean
    See this sentence : "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack."

    I saw this sentence in popular english dictionary book. but I can't understand this sentence.

    I think. "
    Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby It reduces the risk of heart attack."

    this is better, and right.

    Please let me know.

    Have a nice day

    Thank you
     
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    The dictionary is correct.

    "Regular exercise" is a continual action over time and
    "reducing" is a continuous effect,
    "thereby" = in this manner, and, as you see, the manner is continual
    thus, the continuous participle is used.

    You could say

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart; it reduces the risk of heart attack." the clause following the semicolon is not so firmly linked to the "regular exercise", which is to be considered as a single item.
     
  3. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    The participial phrase 'thereby reducing the riisk of heart attack' is equivalent to the relative clause 'whereby it reduces the risk of heart attack' and this is equivalent to the relative clause 'by which it reduces the risk of heart attack'.

    General rule: a participial phrase can optionally be replaced by an equivalent relative clause.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  4. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Dear friend

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack." I have read all the explanation above but I haven't been satisfied, sorry, I still don't understand this sentence. It looks to me as if something is omitted in this sentence. It doesn't make sense to me. Can you help me with this sentence please? I mean in the first part it is "regular exercise strengthens" I mean it is present simple. but the second part; "thereby reducing the risk of heart attack" I think "thereby" is adverb, but what is the subject, what is the verb if it is continuous, where is the auxiliary verb? and why while the first part is present simple, the second part goes continuous? I am very very confused, I have been studying English for a few years and I still come across... I'm sorry. Do you think I should give up studying this language? I am sorry to be rude but I hope you understand me. It makes me crazy.
     
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    There are two separate thoughts in this sentence.
    1. Regular exercise strengthens the heart.
    2. A strengthened heart reduces the risk of heart attack.
    "Thereby" means "by this means" or "in this way".

    Regular exercise strengthens the heart; in this way it reduces the risk of heart attack.
    "It" is "regular exercise". "In this way" tells you that it is the action of strengthening the heart that enables regular exercise to reduce the risk of heart attack.

    Regular exercise strengthens the heart; thereby it reduces the risk of heart attack. But we don't normally use "thereby" like this as a reduced form of "in this way".

    We routinely use the participle/verbal noun as a way of simplifying sentences (well, simplify from our viewpoint :)), and that's also when we use "thereby".
    Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.

    ", thereby reducing" replaces "; in this way it reduces", making the sentence simpler.
     
  6. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Scala & hershayershah, I :tick: & :thumbsup: Andygc's answer!
     
  7. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    thank you Andygc for your kind explanation but I think I still have some problems.

    you say "'In this way' tells you that it is the action of strengthening the heart that enables regular exercise to reduce the risk of heart attack."

    You mean "regular exercise reduces the risk of heart attack by strengthening the heart", right? If so, "by strengthening the heart" is an adverbial phrase that modifies the verb "reduce".

    In the original sentence "
    Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack." what is the role of the phrase "thereby reducing the risk of heart attack"?

    Another example of it :

    "He has built a Canadian-style wooden house, thereby earning himself the unique distinction of owning homes in St. Tropez, Knightsbridge (London), Moscow and Anadyr."

    Let me change this sentence into "He has earned himself the unique distinction of owning homes in St. Tropez, Knightsbridge (London), Moscow and Anadyr by building a Canadian-style wooden house." In this sentence there are two different example of present participle: owning and building. distinction of owning and by building. We clearly see why they should be present participle. I mean in what way does the word "thereby" require a present participle?
     
  8. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    It is not "thereby" which is causing the problem here. In English, you can add a second action which is a consequence of the first one, and when you do this you use the present participle. You can actually omit the "thereby" in these sentences :
    Regular exercise strengthens the heart, reducing the risk of heart attack.
    He has built a Canadian-style wooden house, earning himself the unique distinction of owning homes in St. Tropez, Knightsbridge (London), Moscow and Anadyr.

    I imagine that this slightly unusual verb combination is used specifically to highlight that the second action is a consequence, but I'm not a language historian. The "thereby" here merely serves to emphasize the causal link.
     
  9. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Hi Glasguensis,

    you say when you add a second action, which is a consequence of the first one, you use the present participle. I don't understand precisely this. Shouldn't it be vice versa?

    Here is the sentence:

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack."

    and

    the actions in this sentence are "to strengthen the heart", which is the first, and "to reduce the risk of heart attack" which is the second and the consequence of the first. The first one makes the second one possible and precisely for this reason shouldn't the first one (to strengthen the heart) be in the present participle form? Just like this:

    "regular exercise reduces the risk of heart attack by strengthening the heart."

    Also if the original sentence were "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reduces the risk of heart attack" it would be very clear to me. The first verb is in the form of the present simple and the second one, too.

    Thank you.
     
  10. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack."

    Although the action "to reduce the risk of heart attack" is a consequence of the action "to strengthen the heart" in this sentence, the main clause is still "Regular exercise strengthens the heart" and the stress is on this clause. The speaker actually focuses on the first part of sentence and the part "
    thereby reducing the risk of heart attack" has a secondary importance from the view of the speaker and therefore the speaker uses the present participle form of the verb "reduce" after "thereby".

    Is this the explanation?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  11. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    All you have done is to show that there is more than one way of saying the same thing in English.

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack."
    "Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart attack by strengthening the heart."
    The only difference is that the first emphasises the thought that exercise strengthens the heart and the second emphasises the thought that exercise reduces the risk of heart attack. The first is a statement of the direct effect of exercise, the second is a statement of an indirect effect of exercise.

    The participle serves as a means of linking these two thoughts. Otherwise we write two sentences and then combine them with a conjunction. Your
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reduces the risk of heart attack" is wrong because there is no conjunction. You need to build the sentence like this:
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart. By doing so (=thereby) it reduces the risk of heart attack."
    Which becomes:
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, and by doing so it reduces the risk of heart attack." or
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack".
    We shorten the sentence by using the participle, thus no longer needing the conjunction:
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack."
    The participle acts to modify the whole preceding clause - that is, the thought expressed by
    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart"

    PS Edit. Please note that heshayershah edited the preceding post while I was answering. Nevertheless, I'll leave my post as it is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  12. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    Thank you Andygc for your help.
     
  13. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    It occurred to me that this is just one example of where the present participle is used, but the other examples are basically similar. The idea is that you are introducing a second verb which is linked non-sequentially to the first. Either a cause and effect, or something which occurs in parallel.
    He smokes while driving
    He turns, grinning
    He stops suddenly, thereby spilling his coffee
    He watches football wearing his team's colours
    He switches off the television by using the remote control

    I am not qualified to talk about why English has developed like this, all I can say is that this is the way it works. Perhaps other languages are different, although my second language (French) also works like this (albeit less frequently).
    Yes but it would be incorrect English and confusing to native speakers. Unfortunately foreign languages don't always work the way we would like them to.
     
  14. heshayershah

    heshayershah Junior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    "Unfortunately foreign languages don't always work the way we would like them to." Funny:))

    1. He smokes while driving : two actions happen together at the same time. OK. I know it.
    2. He turns, grinning : exactly the same as 1.
    3. He watches football wearing his team's colours : exactly the same as 1.
    4. He switches off the television by using the remote control : it is the way he switches it off. No problem.

    5. He stops suddenly, thereby spilling his coffee : but in this one "spilling his coffee" is itself the result. It is the one that confuses me.

    let me tell what I have understood from all this discussion:

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack". In this sentence the emphasis is on both parts of the whole sentence. When you want to emphasise "to reduce the risk of heart attack", you change the sentence into

    "Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart attack by strengthening the heart". When you want to emphasise "to strengthen the heart", you make the sentence

    "Regular exercise strengthens the heart, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack".

    I hope I understand it correctly.

    Still, I'm not sure if I clearly understand this use of the present participle. At least I have something and I hope I will overcome this difficulty.

    Thank you Andygc and Glasguensis.
     
  15. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    The difference in emphasis is purely a result of the order of the clauses. In both cases you use the simple present in the main clause and the present participle in the subsidiary clause. The version with both in the simple present is no different in terms of emphasis to the one using the present participle, it is simply longer.
     

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