looking at the causes of addiction

Deen13

New Member
Danish
The NHS is funding a major research project looking at the causes of addiction

In this sentence above, 'looking at the causes of addiction' what is the subject of the looking at the causes of addiction?

The NHS or The project?
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "A major research project" is the subject. The NHS is funding a major research project that looks at the causes of addiction.
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    The NHS is funding [a major research project looking at the causes of addiction].

    The underlined element is a non-finite subordinate clause, and like most such clauses it has no overt subject. But we can usually retrieve a subject from the surrounding text, or from the context. In this case the understood subject is "a major research project".

    But note that it is only the understood subject -- syntactically the clause is subjectless.

    The subordinate clause functions as a modifier in the bracketed noun phrase.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The form of the words doesn't make it clear, as with a different verb phrase the NHS could be the implied subject:

    The NHS is funding a major research project, joining overseas organizations that are already studying addiction.

    The comma I've added indicates greater separation: the verb 'joining' is not attached to the immediately previous subject. But that would not always be strictly observed.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    The NHS is funding a major research project looking at the causes of addiction.
    The NHS, funding a major research project, is looking at the causes of addiction
    The participles (not those that are part of the continuous present verbs) immediately follow or precede the noun they modify.

    Another example: 'She was hit by a bus crossing the street.' = The bus drove across the street and hit her.
    Crossing the street, she was hit by a bus. = She was crossing the street, and the bus, in its own lane, hit her.
     

    billj

    Senior Member
    British English
    The NHS is funding a major research project looking at the causes of addiction

    In this sentence above, 'looking at the causes of addiction' what is the subject of the looking at the causes of addiction?

    The NHS or The project?
    The more salient interpretation is that a major research project is looking at the causes of addiction.
     
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