boats strung with colourful lights slipped across the water

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Senior Member
She poured herself a glass of champagne and let it slosh all over her hand and onto her skirt. ‘Cheers.’
She toasted the harbour and drank thirstily. Boats strung with colourful lights slipped across the water, throbbing with music and the shouts and cries of over-excited party people.
Source: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
Context: It is Christmas evening in Sydney. Cat settled herself down cross-legged on the ground, her back up against a tree in the Botanic Gardens past the Opera House.

What does the bolded phrase mean? boats strung with lights ... boats fitted with a string of lights, right?
What about slipped across the water? the lights slipped, right? the lights quivered across the water? or rather the boats moving across the water?

throb with music: sound with a strong regular rhyth

Thank you.
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The boats were decorated with one or more strings of lights. They were strung with lights.
    The boats slipped across the water. The boats moved smoothly across the water.

    "Lights" is the object of the preposition "with." It can't also be the subject of the main verb "slipped."


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Slipped can be used for any smooth motion.

    He slipped out of the room (quietly and smoothly left the room).

    The car slipped into the distance.

    The sail slipped over the horizon.
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