She's leaving home lyrics

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Carlos Cheval

New Member
Spanish
I'd like to know the function of the participial clauses from the first stanza of "She's leaving home" by Lennon-McCartney:

Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock when the day begins,

Silently closing her bedroom door, leaving the note that she hopes would say more

She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief,

Quietly turning the backdoor key, stepping outside she is free

Are the non-finite clauses in italics adverbial complements, explaining HOW she goes downstairs and HOW she is free?
Or are they adjective clauses describing the girl?

Please clarify.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I'm not familiar with the technical terms you're using, but the italicized phrases (they are not clauses; a clause contains a subject and predicate) are certainly descriptive of the girl's actions.

    Why do you ask?

    P.S.: Welcome to the forum! :)
     

    Carlos Cheval

    New Member
    Spanish
    Thank you for your reply, Parla.
    In fact, in modern grammar, these participial phrases are treated as clauses because they do have a subject, although not overt or explicit: who did all those actions? The girl (she) closed her bedroom door, she left the note that she hoped would say more, she clutched her handkerchief, she turned the backdoor key, she stepped outside. Therefore, she is the understood or logical subject and the verbal elements (closing, leaving, clutching, etc) plus their complements should be the predicates.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    They are participial phrases: each contains a participle, which acts as an adjective, qualifying the subject of the sentence ('she').
    At the same time, the participle has a verbal function and thus presents a distinct action in relation to the main verb.

    A participial phrase is equivalent semantically (in meaning) to an adverbial clause, but is not equivalent syntactically (in grammar).

    Lines 1 to 3 form a single sentence, and should have a full stop at the end of line 3.
    The participial phrases in line 2 present actions which took place prior to the main verb ('goes'), the phrase in line 3 an action simultaneous with the verb.

    Line 4 is a new sentence. The participial phrases in this sentence present actions prior to the main verb ('is').

    Speaking from memory (and logic), 'hopes' in line 2 is a typo for 'hoped'.
     

    Carlos Cheval

    New Member
    Spanish
    They are participial phrases: each contains a participle, which acts as an adjective, qualifying the subject of the sentence ('she').
    At the same time, the participle has a verbal function and thus presents a distinct action in relation to the main verb.

    A participial phrase is equivalent semantically (in meaning) to an adverbial clause, but is not equivalent syntactically (in grammar).

    Lines 1 to 3 form a single sentence, and should have a full stop at the end of line 3.
    The participial phrases in line 2 present actions which took place prior to the main verb ('goes'), the phrase in line 3 an action simultaneous with the verb.

    Line 4 is a new sentence. The participial phrases in this sentence present actions prior to the main verb ('is').

    Speaking from memory (and logic), 'hopes' in line 2 is a typo for 'hoped'.
    Thank you for your reply. You're certainly right and this must be a case of participial phrases qualifying the subject. Your observation about "hopes" is correct, though it was a distraction rather than a typing mistake.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    {Hopes is not a typo for Hoped}
    I don't understand what you mean, Loob.

    When I heard the song, I clearly heard "the note that she hoped would say more." Also, that is the only possible way it makes sense -- she wrote a note. She had hoped it would say more than it does, but she didn't know how to say what she wanted to say.

    It's possible that the lyrics are posted online somewhere with the wrong word, but it would still be a typo.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I just listened online to the original Beatles recording. There is no doubt that the word is 'hoped'. I'm not allowed to give the YouTube link.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ignore me - I was having a funny five minutes:eek: (I've struck through the comment.)
     
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