Dealing with dealing cards "face down"

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illogicaljoker

New Member
English
I'm trying to pinpoint what "face down" is acting as (adverb, adjective, other) in a sentence I'm trying to edit:

"Place the remaining cards face down in a draw pile."
VERB - ADJECTIVE - OBJECT - ? ? ? - PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

I don't like the idea of "face down" modifying "place" as an adverb ("Face down place the remaining cards") as I read it much more as a positional modifier on the cards themselves ("Place the remaining cards in a draw pile so that their faces are down").

Must I accept "face down" as an adverb (in which case I must change it to read "Place the remaining cards facedown in a draw pile")? I know colloquial usage is OK with keeping the original sentence, but can anyone give a technical reason for doing so?
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    I wouldn't ever replace it with "facedown." I don't see the problem with "face down" being an adverbial phrase here. It's similar to "Hold your hands palms up in front of you".

    The old rule I was taught was "adverbs often answer 'how". Place the cards. Place the cards how? Face down. Hold your hands. Hold your hands how? Palms up.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello IJ ~ Welcome to the forum:)
    Yes, I'd most likely call it an 'adverbial phrase' too. 'Adverbial phrase containing a noun qualified by a preposition' if someone put a gun to my head and insisted I be a bit more specific.
     

    illogicaljoker

    New Member
    English
    Sure, adverbial phrase sounds fine, but according to Websters 11th (which is the guide I--sometimes unfortunately--go by), "facedown" is the adverb meaning "with the face down." I'm not sure that I'd be able to use the adverbial phrase "face down" instead of the adverb "facedown"--or is there more than an aesthetic difference between an adverb and adverbial phrase in this instance?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Although I see that www.m-w.com lists "facedown" as an adverb, I would never have thought of using "facedown" as an adverb before this thread. I would only use "face down". "Facedown", to me, is a noun meaning a confrontation.

    The Times National Corpus shows many more uses of "face down" than "facedown" as an adverb, so I don't think I'm alone in this.

    I would always write "she was found lying face down in the bathtub" (to use a gruesome example) rather than "she was found lying facedown in the bathtub".
     
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