his neck bitten open

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nemo eve walle

Senior Member
chinese
The brute was dead, but still gripping Montgomery's throat with its curving claws. Near by lay M'ling on his face and quite still, his neck bitten open and the upper part of the smashed brandy-bottle in his hand.
From The Island of Doctor Moreau

Why is there no was? I think it is supposed to be ''his neck was bitten open''.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Just like present participles, past participles (bitten) may be the basis of non-finite clauses modifying nouns, as is the case here. Compare:
    Nearby lay M'ling on his face and quite still, his neck bitten open and the upper part of the smashed brandy-bottle in his hand.
    Nearby lay M'ling on his face and quite still, holding the smashed brandy bottle in his hand.

    There is one important difference between those two examples above, though. In the first case, the non-finite clause has a subject of its own (his neck), while in the second one the non-finite clause is subjectless and automatically attaches itself to the subject of the matrix clause (M'ling)
     

    nemo eve walle

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Subjectless? M'ling is the subject!
    If I say,
    Nearby lie M'ling on his face and quite still, holds the smashed brandy bottle in his hand.
    (present tense)
    or
    Nearby lay M'ling on his face and quite still, held the smashed brandy bottle in his hand. (past tense)
    Is these right?
     
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