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Bill hurt his knees(,) playing soccer in the park.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by 8769, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. 8769 Senior Member

    Japanese and Japan
    I’m putting a sentence in Japanese into English. The sentences, below, are the ones that I have made.
    1. Bill was playing soccer in the park and hurt his knees.
    2. Playing soccer in the park, Bill hurt his knees.
    3. Bill hurt his knees playing soccer in the park.
    4. Bill hurt his knees, playing soccer in the park.

    I think #1 and #2 are good English, but I'm not sure about $3 and #4. What do you think of #3 and #4?​

  2. MarFish Senior Member

    English - American
    #1 Perfect.
    #2 needs "while": "While playing soccer in the park, Bill hurt his knees."
    #3 Perfect.
    #4 Remove the comma (which ends up being identical to #3).
  3. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    There's nothing wrong with #2; it doesn't need 'while'. It also illustrates that 'playing soccer in the park' can be what I have called an adjunct of accompaniment, in my answer to your other recent thread http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2457687, where the sentence is 'I found a beautiful shell, walking along the beach' or equivalently 'Walking along the beach, I found a beautiful shell'. So it would seem obvious that #4 should be okay, and should have the intonation I have described in the other thread. But for some reason, #4 is not okay and we would almost always say #3. I am struggling to say why.

    #4 (or #2) is what you would say if the basic information you wanted to convey was 'Bill hurt his knees', and if the manner of doing it was less important. #3 seems to convey basically how he hurt his knees - 'playing soccer in the park' is the key information. That would make perfect sense if we said both #3 and #4, with a difference in meaning, and #4 meaning the same as #2; but we are unlikely to say #4 at all.

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