I fell on the floor hitting my head

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Jigen

Senior Member
Italian
I fell on the floor hitting my head.
Good evening dear members,could you please help me answer the following question?

Is this relative clause used to talk about a time sequence or to talk about a result?
 
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  • Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    To be nit-picky, it depends on whether there is a comma (in written form) or a pause (in spoken form).

    1. I fell on the floor, hitting my head. (I hit my head as a result of falling to the floor.)
    2. I fell on the floor hitting my head. (While hitting my head, I fell on the floor.)

    In practice, even if you write 2 most people would probably assume that you mean 1, but just don't know how to punctuate.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    We just normally wouldn't say that -- I think we'd normally say "I fell on the floor and hit my head" -- and if we did, there would be a comma between the two phrases.

    And anyway, what is the difference between a "time sequence" and a "result"? Aren't results always later in time than their causes?

    Cross-posted.
     

    Jigen

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello Glenfarclas,

    I've learnt that these king of subordinate clauses can be used to
    -talk about something that takes place at the same time as,or just before, the action in the main clause
    -talk about causes/rtesults of the action described in the main clause

    I've posted this question to know in which "category" this sentence could be included.


    I hope to have answered also to Forero.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Without a comma, "hitting my head" seems misplaced, as if it should modify "floor" (e.g. "the floor hitting my head" = "the floor that hits my head").

    With a comma between floor and hitting, the sentence is ambiguous. Most likely the head was injured upon hitting the floor (not hitting something else on the way down), so the two meanings will probably coincide.
     
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