its belly almost flat to the gravel.

Julianus

Senior Member
Korean
Hello.

1a. Driving back from the village, I stopped the car because a small woodchuck was traveling along the road, its belly almost flat to the gravel. (Korea university entrance exam)

I think that the blue part gives a more information about 'a samll woodchuck'. As far as I know, when something is added after the sentence, participial phrase, non-restrictive relative pronoun, or adjectival phrase are usually used. But this sentence constitutes with 'noun(belly)+adjectvie(flat)'. Are there any omission? Or can just only this form be used for 'additional information'? Maybe I think this comes from the following absolute participial phrase.

1b. Driving back from the village, I stopped the car because a small woodchuck was traveling along the road, its belly being almost flat to the gravel.

How about this suggestion? If my suggestion is a possible from, can two participial phrases come out before and after the sentence like above?

Thank you always~.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    There is no omission, but you can think of it as "the woodchuck was travelling...with its belly almost flat..."
    "(with) its belly almost flat" describes the way the bird was travelling. It's quite a common construction.

    Compare: "The dog ran off, its tail between its legs."
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1b. Driving back from the village, I stopped the car because a small woodchuck was traveling along the road, its belly being almost flat to the gravel.

    How about this suggestion?
    Yes, that's the right idea: "Driving back from the village" is a participial phrase qualifying "I". "Its belly almost flat to the ground" is an absolute construction - it doesn't qualify any particular part of the sentence. I think we can always omit being in an absolute construction, and as Velisarius says, including "being" sounds odd here - strangely formal or pedantic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_construction
    the way the bird was travelling
    A woodchuck is a rodent, not a bird. Incidentally, "travelling" seems to me to be a very odd word to use here: it nearly always refers to locomotion using a vehicle.
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Thank you se16teddy for putting me right. So a woodchuck is a groundhog and has nothing to do with woodcocks; that makes a lot more sense. Found online at the "Kansas Mammmal Atlas": "When foraging...the woodchuck moves slowly with a waddling gait, feet spread wide and the belly almost touching the ground." Maybe the writer wanted to avoid using "running " or "walking" to describe this.
     
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