I twisted my ankle getting out of the hot tub. - word order

shorty1

Senior Member
Korean
Dear all,


I came across this sentence in a movie but I don't remember what the title is.

I know what it means.

Can I say "Getting out of the hot tub, I twisted my ankle." instead of "I twisted my ankle getting out of the hot tub." to mean the same thing?

I wonder if it makes any difference how the word order is.

I think the fronted part is just given the stress without the change of meaning.


Thank you for your help.
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, you can say both. There's a difference in focus, not meaning. The original sentence focuses on what happened to you: I twisted my ankle. And how did that happen? Then you add an explanation. In the other order, you set the scene: I was getting out of the hot tub, when something happened . . .
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Yes, you can say both. There's a difference in focus, not meaning. The original sentence focuses on what happened to you: I twisted my ankle. And how did that happen? Then you add an explanation. In the other order, you set the scene: I was getting out of the hot tub, when something happened . . .
    In this case, it's not awkard if the participle clause is fronted nor is the meaning changed.

    Thank you very much, entangledbank. :)
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It is not awkward, but this arrangement is more typical of formal writing than conversational speech. In everyday speech you are much more likely to here the participial phrase at the end.
    You cut through the heart of what I've been wondering about.

    I sometimes come across the sentences in the order in my grammar books but I've never heard native speakers say the sentences in the order in real life.

    This has been very helpful.

    Thank you, se16teddy. :)
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, in everyday speech you could use the same order for the same scene-setting effect, but it would be more natural to use a simple coordination of main clauses:

    I was getting out of the hot tub, and/when I twisted my ankle.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Yes, in everyday speech you could use the same order for the same scene-setting effect, but it would be more natural to use a simple coordination of main clauses:

    I was getting out of the hot tub, and/when I twisted my ankle.
    I don't understand what it means, "in everyday speech you could use the same order for the same scene-setting effect". :oops:

    I'm sorry to bother you but could you reword or explain the part, entangledbank?
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You mean in everyday speech people could say "Getting out of the hot tub, I twisted my ankle." for a scene-setting effect but it would be more natural to say, "I was getting out of the hot tub, and/when I twisted my ankle.", right?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, you could put the scene first (I was getting out of the hot tub), and that's a way of telling the story. But the grammar of how you attach it is different: as two main clauses 'I was . . . and I twisted . . .', it's simple, so people are more likely to say it that way. Making it a dependent clause '(while) getting out . . .' is more complex grammatically, so it's more likely in a literary narrative.
     

    shorty1

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Yes, you could put the scene first (I was getting out of the hot tub), and that's a way of telling the story. But the grammar of how you attach it is different: as two main clauses 'I was . . . and I twisted . . .', it's simple, so people are more likely to say it that way. Making it a dependent clause '(while) getting out . . .' is more complex grammatically, so it's more likely in a literary narrative.

    I really appreciate your explanation. :)

    This has been clear now.
     
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