and then more of them showing up to finish the killing

Nucleara

Senior Member
Please have a look at the following sentence.

Attacks by sharks have been reported to start by one shark attacking the person, and then more of them showing up to finish the killing.

I´m not sure if "showing up" is correct here. My try is that the subject for both verbs [attacking and showing up] is ATTACKS BY SHARKS, and with the linker AND, showing up and attacking agree in the same subject.

But from another view, ONE SHARK is the subject for the verb attacking, and MORE OF THEM is the subject for showing up, independently of the anterior verb[attacking].

So, what is correct? Sorry if I had made all this look confusing. I'm really confused.

Thank you so much.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Your second try is correct: 'one shark' is subject of 'attacking'. One shark attacked the person, then more of them showed up to finish the killing. This statement is turned into a subordinate clause in 'start by __', where the gerund-participle of the verb is needed: I started by making my lunch.
     

    Nucleara

    Senior Member
    Your second try is correct: 'one shark' is subject of 'attacking'. One shark attacked the person, then more of them showed up to finish the killing. This statement is turned into a subordinate clause in 'start by __', where the gerund-participle of the verb is needed: I started by making my lunch.
    Thank you entangledbank.
    So it should be "...and then more of them SHOW UP to finish the killing." , right?

    By one shark attacking the person, and then (followed) by more of them showing up.... OR
    By one shark attacking the person, and then more of them show up..... ?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Then more of them show up' is possible, and perhaps more logical. The attack starts with the first shark. On the other hand, you could argue that the later sharks showing up (merely arriving) is the beginning of their involvement, so it can also come under 'start'. The sentence finishes with 'to finish the killing', which is something like a purpose, something in the future. If it said 'more of them show up and finish the killing', then this part of the action can't be brought under 'start', so it would have to be 'show' (and 'finish'), not 'showing'.
     
    Last edited:

    Nucleara

    Senior Member
    'Then more of them' show up is possible, and perhaps more logical.

    The sentence finishes with 'to finish the killing', which is something like a purpose, something in the future.
    Why is it more logical? I don't quite get it.

    I get these two parts.
    you could argue that the later sharks showing up (merely arriving) is the beginning of their involvement, so it can also come under 'start'.
    If it said 'more of them show up and finish the killing', then this part of the action can't be brought under 'start', so it would have to be 'show' (and 'finish'), not 'showing'.
    Are you suggesting that the verb form of "to show up" has something to do with the end of the sentence "to finish the killing", which is kind of a purpose and which suggests something happening in the future? But I don't get to which version of the verb you are suggesting. Can you please explain that again?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The phases of the attack are: (1) first shark attacks; (2) more sharks arrive; (3) all sharks contribute to killing. These can be seen as beginning with (1) then continuing with (2) and (3), or beginning with (1) and (2) then continuing with (3). In the latter case, the attack starts by [one shark attacking then more sharks arriving]. That is how the original sentence is structured (if they've got it right and the verb choice wasn't just a mistake). Alternatively, [the attack starts by one shark attacking] then [more sharks arrive and join in]. The verb form of the later verbs is determined by how they're paired with an earlier verb, and that depends on how you view the phases. Starting with (1) alone might be a more logical view.
     

    Nucleara

    Senior Member
    The phases of the attack are: (1) first shark attacks; (2) more sharks arrive; (3) all sharks contribute to killing. These can be seen as beginning with (1) then continuing with (2) and (3), or beginning with (1) and (2) then continuing with (3). In the latter case, the attack starts by [one shark attacking then more sharks arriving]. That is how the original sentence is structured (if they've got it right and the verb choice wasn't just a mistake). Alternatively, [the attack starts by one shark attacking] then [more sharks arrive and join in]. The verb form of the later verbs is determined by how they're paired with an earlier verb, and that depends on how you view the phases. Starting with (1) alone might be a more logical view.
    I got the difference now. So, both versions are grammatically correct, depending on how you view the phases. Anyway, the latter version is more logical, and is what's suggested. Am I right?
     
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