England tops Cameroon, seething over video reviews

dizmayed

New Member
United States
England tops Cameroon, seething over video reviews

This is a newspaper headline regarding a soccer game. My question is: who is seething?

Segun la historia, Cameroon is seething, not England. I find this construction ambiguous. I've seen it in English and Spanish short stories too, where it's unclear who did what to whom.

This construction generated lots of discussion among friends. A journalism school dean was consulted. His verdict: sloppy writing (the headline properly says England seethed) but he could not provide a grammatical rule.

I would look this up myself but I don't know the proper terminology. Can someone 1) confirm that the headline indeed says England seethed, and 2) help me with the relevant grammatical rule (s) in Spanish or English?

Thanks.
dizmayed
 
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  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    The Cameroon players were the ones seething over bad referee/VAR decisiones, not the English :)

    EDIT
    There is no Spanish sentence since it's a report in English. I do not find it ambiguous.
     
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    Dosamuno

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    "I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner."
    This is an example of a dangling participle.
    Who is coming down the stairs?

    I agree with Magazine that England tops Cameroon, seething over video reviews is ambiguous because
    "seething over video reviews" is also a dangling participle.

    Indeed: Who is seething?

    Dangling Participle: Explanation and Examples
     
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    dizmayed

    New Member
    United States
    Oh no! My original post was perhaps vague. The story beneath the headline makes it clear that Cameroon seethed, England did not. Thank you to Magazine for looking deeper into that headline than I thought possible. Also to Dosamuno for naming the delito: a dangling participle. Yes I see, I think.

    Do I then understand correctly that this headline correctly says Cameroon seethed, which in fact occurred? Cameroon is the seether because of that word's proximity to the participial phrase? Or am I still lost? Or is the headline flawed?

    Am I lost again? I really do want to nail this down. I assume the conventions are the same in Spanish and English.

    The New York Times covered the same soccer game. Their headline read: "England beats seething Cameroon." Much better.
     
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    Dosamuno

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Cameroon is the seether because of that word's proximity to the participial phrase?
    By that logic, the oysters are coming down the stairs. (See#5)

    The rule is that the participle in subordinate clauses should always describe an action performed by the subject of the main part of the sentence.

    Yes, The New York Times' headline is much clearer.

    There is no such construction in Spanish with "endo" or "ando" forms.

    Caminando en La Plaza Mayor, me topé con Ana Botella. :cross:
    Mientras estaba caminando en La Plaza Mayor, me topé con Ana Botella.:tick:
     
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    dizmayed

    New Member
    United States
    Okay Dosamuno, be patient with me.

    These two sentences have the same structure, except for the comma. Both are poorly constructed.

    England tops Cameroon, seething over video reviews
    "I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner."


    The rule is: the participle in subordinate clauses should always describe an action performed by the subject of the main part of the sentence.

    So strictly speaking, England seethed, because England is the subject of the main part of the sentence. Unfortunately contrary to fact.
    And strictly speaking, "I" was coming down the stairs (not the oysters) because "I" is the subject of the main part of the sentence. Unfortunately, quite funny and distracting, if accurate.

    Am I getting close?
     

    Dosamuno

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Okay Dosamuno, be patient with me.

    These two sentences have the same structure, except for the comma. Both are poorly constructed.

    England tops Cameroon, seething over video reviews
    "I smelled the oysters coming down the stairs for dinner."


    The rule is: the participle in subordinate clauses should always describe an action performed by the subject of the main part of the sentence.

    So strictly speaking, England seethed, because England is the subject of the main part of the sentence. Unfortunately contrary to fact.
    And strictly speaking, "I" was coming down the stairs (not the oysters) because "I" is the subject of the main part of the sentence. Unfortunately, quite funny and distracting, if accurate.

    Am I getting close?
    :thumbsup:

    You're doing fine, dizmayed.
    It's not an easy concept to grasp.
    And my statement on similar usage in Spanish needs to be amended.
    After certain verbs--ie, verbs of perception, you can have a sentence like,
    "Vi a Maria bajando las escaleras."
    But that's for another day and another discussion.
     

    Dosamuno

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    The use of a gerund is different in Spanish and English.
    One cannot use a gerund as the subject of a sentence in Spanish—the infinitive is used.
    Swimming is my favorite sport. :tick:
    Nadando es mi deporte preferido. :cross:
    Nadar es mi deporte preferido.:tick:

    Nor after most prepositions--although we can in English.
    You get nothing without working.
    No se consigue nada sin trabajando.:cross:
    No se consigue nada sin trabajar.:tick:

    In my example, “Caminado por la plaza” is an adjectival phrase modifying the subject of the sentence and is OK.
    But Butt and Benjamin warn against using the gerund with verbs of motion:

    Lo vi viniendo hacia mi.:cross: (A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, 20.7.i)

    So that’s why I got confused with my example—and it was late.
    (Excuses, excuses.)

    The rules are complicated: A New Reference Gramma of Modern Spanish dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of the Spanish gerund—chapter 20, pp. 317-320.

    I’ve been involved in one thread on the subject
    https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/veo-a-tres-hombres-tomando-café-gerund-adjective.3510530/#post-17832192
    I got confused in that thread too.
    Jeez, I've only been speaking Spanish for 50 years!

    I’m sure there are other threads on the participle and dangling participles.

    Are dangling participles possible in Spanish?
    I would guess they are but will leave that question for a native speaker.

    My comments on dangling participles in English stand.
     
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