seeing (that)...

Milton1125

Member
Mandarin
I'm wondering which of the following sentences is correct.

(1) Seeing that she is capable, we've decided to have her take the job.
(2) Seeing how capable she is, we've decided to have her take the job.

Syntactically speaking, "seeing (that)" is to be followed by a complete sentence as the clause "she is capable" in (1). But I'm wondering if "how capable she is" in (2) is a complete sentence or simply a noun phrase. In my humble opinion, it's more like a noun phrase, and so sentence (2) is not grammatical. What do you think? Thanks :)
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Both sentences are grammatical, I think, but rather weird, in my view.
    (1) You have seen that she is capable, so you have decided to make her take the job. (possibly against her will :D)
    (2) You have seen that she is very capable, so you have decided to make her take the job. (possibly against her will)
     

    Milton1125

    Member
    Mandarin
    Thanks, boozer and cyberpedant. :)
    Sorry, I didn't make my point clear here. According to boozer, "seeing" seems to be analyzed as the present participle of "see." But my question is if it serves as a conjunction, like "because" or "since", can it be followed by a noun clause as "how capable she is" in (2)? As to cyberpedant's reply, I'm not sure if a noun clause can stand alone as a complete sentence, given that it's a subordinate clause not a complete sentence. Here's another sentence I came across in an article: "Seeing how practical and enjoyable having a smartphone is, it's no wonder more people are buying them." Is "seeing" here a conjunction or simply a present participle of "see"? Thanks :)
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Sorry, Milton1125. I was focused on the "how capable she is" clause which is indeed a noun clause object of the gerund "seeing." The whole structure is called a "nominative absolute"* as it is not grammatically connected to the rest of the sentence. (The gerund and present participle in English are identical in form, but differ in function.)
    One could say, "How capable she is!" or "how practical and enjoyable having a smartphone is" without violating any grammar rules as the phrases have all the parts necessary for a complete sentence.

    * OED: Absolute
    9.III.9 Standing out of (the usual) grammatical relation or syntactic construction with other words, as in the ablative absolute. ... Also absolute clause, absolute comparative, absolute construction, absolute superlative.
    ¶The absolute case in English was formerly the Dative or Instrumental: it is now the Nominative.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    They are both correct sentences, beginning with participial phrases modifying we. In each of these participial phrases, seeing is the participle itself and what follows is its direct object.

    In sentence (1), that she is capable means "the fact that she is capable". In sentence (2), how capable she is means "the extent to which she is capable". Thus the meanings are rather different.

    In the other sentence offered (Milton1125, please tell us what article the sentence is from), I take the seeing part as a participial phrase modifying people, but a case could be made for some sort of "meta language" about what the writer or reader observes:

    Seeing how practical and enjoyable having a smartphone is, it's no wonder more people are buying them.
    = "It's no wonder that more people, seeing how practical and enjoyable having a smartphone is, are buying them."
    or = "Since we see how practical and enjoyable having a smartphone is, it's no wonder more people are buying them."
     
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