with/without + possessive/accusative + V-ing

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 461) has this section:
(f) Subject of clausal complement of with/without
Pronouns in this position normally appear in accusative case:

[16] i We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

Note that this is one place where a gerund-participial in complement function cannot take a genitive subject, but unlike the construction dealt with in (b) above the accusative is not here an informal alternant to a nominative.
I think CGEL is saying that using 'my' instead of 'me' in [16i] is wrong:
*We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

More importantly, it seems to me that the boldfaced portion of CGEL is making a blanket statement that the subject of clausal complement of with/without cannot take a genitive form (possessive form).

I for one wouldn't use 'my' here, but that's just me.
Theoretically, I know that you can use both 'my' and 'me' as the subject of V-ing, as shown in this thread "Without 'his' knowing it", for example.

How do you distinguish the CGEL's example/blanket statement from the "Without his knowing it" and other similar threads?
 
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  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    (i) I am not over convinced that with takes the accusative: in Old English, with (both in its meaning of "together with" and "by the use of" [the instrumental was rare and the dative was usually used]) was usually found with the dative.

    (ii) It is widely taught that such sentences as "I dislike his/him smoking." are both valid. However, we can see why his works as it qualifies what appears to be a substantive. "Him" is questionably justified as the object of "dislike." Usually, this does not matter too much whether his or him is chosen.

    That said, I would not analyse the sentence in that way. The basic sentence to consider is "We set off again with me." What follows tells you more about "me" and "setting off."

    We set off again, [...] {with me} staying {on its tail} {in case it petered out altogether}. {adverbial phrases}

    In
    We set off again[...] with me [who was] staying on its tail ...
    .........................................[....adjectival phrase..........]

    "with me" is an adverbial
    Staying is a participle that heads a reduced relative clause.





     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    That said, I would not analyse the sentence in that way. The basic sentence to consider is "We set off again with me." What follows tells you more about "me" and "setting off."

    We set off again, [...] {with me} staying {on its tail} {in case it petered out altogether}. {adverbial phrases}

    In
    We set off again[...] with me [who was] staying on its tail ...
    .........................................[....adjectival phrase..........]

    "with me" is an adverbial
    Staying is a participle that heads a reduced relative clause.
    Paul, I do wish this were as simple as you make it out to be.
    But I think your reduced version "We set off again with me" conveys a completely different meaning from the original version.

    In your reduced version, "with" simply indicates that "we" and "me" performed the act of "setting off again" together, which is nonsensical if "we" includes "me", which I think it does in context.

    This is because, for example, you can say "They went to the store with me", but "We went to the store with me" sounds very weird to my ears (perhaps except in some very rare context I can't think of off the top of my head right now).

    In the original version, on the other hand, "with" indicates not that "we" and "me" performed the act of "setting off again" together, but that the situation of us setting off again is related to the situation of me staying on its tail. That is, "me" performed not the act of setting off again but the act of staying on its tail.

    Now, how could you argue that "me" is correct and that "my" isn't, simply based on a reduced version that conveys a completely different meaning and may well be even nonsensical?

    I think it's virtually the same as arguing that "I dislike his smoking." is wrong because an erroneously reduced version is "I dislike him", not "I dislike his".

    Moreover, I think "this" in CGEL's text (this is one place where a gerund-participial in complement function cannot take a genitive subject) refers to the entire case of (f) Subject of clausal complement of with/without, not just [16i].

    EDIT: I've just found a thread titled "Me Staying or My Staying", where the only answer says both of these are grammatical:
    (1) He is fine with me staying at his house.
    (2) He is fine with my staying at his house.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    This is the applicable definition of with:
    17. (used as a function word to specify an additional circumstance or condition):
    We climbed the hill, with Jeff following behind.

    That is, the phrase functions adverbially. I believe I am agreeing with PaulQ here.
    As you can see, the dictionary example does not use the genitive (or 'possessive')
    "We climbed the hill, with Jeff's following behind" would be an extremely odd thing to say, and impossible to interpret.
    (This doesn't settle the question of what case 'Jeff' is, but we do know that it's not the genitive.​
    .
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    This is the applicable definition of with:
    17. (used as a function word to specify an additional circumstance or condition):

    We climbed the hill, with Jeff following behind.

    That is, the phrase functions adverbially. I believe I am agreeing with PaulQ here.
    If you agree with PaulQ, could you tell me where I got it wrong in my rebuttal in post #4?

    Also, please let me know if you agree with CGEL's blanket statement, and if so, how you would distinguish previous threads like "Without 'his' knowing it" and "Me Staying or My Staying".

    As you can see, the dictionary example does not use the genitive (or 'possessive')
    "We climbed the hill, with Jeff's following behind" would be an extremely odd thing to say, and impossible to interpret.
    (This doesn't settle the question of what case 'Jeff' is, but we do know that it's not the genitive.​
    I think just because the example doesn't use the genitive doesn't mean the dictionary is banning the use of genitive in that example.
    That's that.

    Like I said in the original post, I myself wouldn't use 'Jeff's' in that example if I were to write it.

    Besides, in that particular example, where "following" can be a noun (meaning "supporters") as well as a gerund/participle, using "Jeff's" would run the risk of making "Jeff's following" sound like "Jeff's supporters". So, I agree that it'd be difficult to interpret, but I think the difficulty arises primarily out of "following".
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 461) has this section:


    I think CGEL is saying that using 'my' instead of 'me' in [16i] is wrong:
    *We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    More importantly, it seems to me that the boldfaced portion of CGEL is making a blanket statement that the subject of clausal complement of with/without cannot take a genitive form (possessive form).

    I for one wouldn't use 'my' here, but that's just me.
    Theoretically, I know that you can use both 'my' and 'me' as the subject of V-ing, as shown in this thread "Without 'his' knowing it", for example.

    How do you distinguish the CGEL's example/blanket statement from the "Without his knowing it" and other similar threads?
    As I see it, inserting "who was" here would alter the meaning, but I do see "staying ..." as modifying "me", not "me" as the subject of "staying ...".

    Changing "me" to "my" makes "staying" a gerund with a possessive subject, which would be grammatical, but not at all a likely thing to say.

    I would not object to omitting "with": "We set off again ..., me staying ...", which to a purist might be "We set off again ..., I staying ...." This "me"/"I" is still modified by the participial phrase beginning with "staying". I find "me" more natural than "I" here, just as I do with "That is I", but to me the "with" phrase we are talking about is basically a periphrasis of an absolute construction.

    "He is fine with me staying ..." and "He is fine with my staying ..." are practically synonymous, and do not represent the same phenomenon. They would make no sense without "with", whether with "me" or with "I", and I would not put a comma between "fine" and "with" because "is fine with" goes together and means something like "is amenable to" or "can accept".
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    I may not be getting the point, but aren't these clauses both absolute nominative constructions? We don't use the possessive with them.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    As I see it, inserting "who was" here would alter the meaning, but I do see "staying ..." as modifying "me", not "me" as the subject of "staying ...".

    Changing "me" to "my" makes "staying" a gerund with a possessive subject, which would be grammatical, but not at all a likely thing to say.

    I would not object to omitting "with": "We set off again ..., me staying ...", which to a purist might be "We set off again ..., I staying ...." This "me"/"I" is still modified by the participial phrase beginning with "staying". I find "me" more natural than "I" here, just as I do with "That is I", but to me the "with" phrase we are talking about is basically a periphrasis of an absolute construction.

    "He is fine with me staying ..." and "He is fine with my staying ..." are practically synonymous, and do not represent the same phenomenon. They would make no sense without "with", whether with "me" or with "I", and I would not put a comma between "fine" and "with" because "is fine with" goes together and means something like "is amenable to" or "can accept".
    I don't think it matters whether to insert "who was" or not. As long as you assume that "staying on its tail" modifies "me", you end up with the sentence "We set off again with me". Then, you'll have to point out where in post #4 I have failed in arguing that "We set off again with me" is not only completely different from the original, but nonsensical.

    Moreover, you've said on the one hand that "me" is not the subject of "staying on its tail", and on the other hand that "with me staying on its tail" is "a periphrasis of an absolute construction," which I think means that "me" is the subject of "staying on its tail" (since an absolute construction comprises a subject and a predicate). Isn't that internally contradictory?

    Finally, how would you differentiate the other thread "Without 'his' knowing it" ?
    (In that thread, at least as many native speakers thought 'his' was correct as thought 'him' was correct.)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I don't think it matters whether to insert "who was" or not. As long as you assume that "staying on its tail" modifies "me", you end up with the sentence "We set off again with me". Then, you'll have to point out where in post #4 I have failed in arguing that "We set off again with me" is not only completely different from the original, but nonsensical.

    Moreover, you've said on the one hand that "me" is not the subject of "staying on its tail", and on the other hand that "with me staying on its tail" is "a periphrasis of an absolute construction," which I think means that "me" is the subject of "staying on its tail" (since an absolute construction comprises a subject and a predicate). Isn't that internally contradictory?
    No. I am talking about absolute constructions, i.e. modified nouns or pronouns used as if they were adverbial. In Latin, these things are called "ablative absolute"; in English I was taught to call them "nominative absolute". But because I happen to be more comfortable with "me" rather than "I" in such constructions, I call them absolute constructions and shy away from the "nominative" designation.

    Absolute constructions are common, but a lot of them are fixed expressions: "that said", "all things considered", "the necessary changes having been made"/"mutatis mutandis", "other things equal"/"ceteris paribus", etc.

    In "that said", for example, "said" modifies "that", and in "other things equal", "equal" modifies "other things". Similarly, "staying on its tail" in our example modifies "me".

    In English we just don't put the noun or pronoun in an absolute construction in possessive form. (Ancient Greek had a "genitive absolute", with both the noun or pronoun and its modifier in genitive case, but that just does not work in English or Latin.)

    It is easy to imagine each of the fixed expressions I listed, and probably every absolute construction in English, with "with" in front, except that if we accept "I staying on its tail" as an absolute construction, "I" has to become "me" when "with" is added: "with me staying on its tail".
    Finally, how would you differentiate the other thread "Without 'his' knowing it" ?
    (In that thread, at least as many native speakers thought 'his' was correct as thought 'him' was correct.)
    The difference is that "without him/his knowing it" is not "him" modified by "knowing it" but "knowing it" modified by "him"/"his", with a meaning something like "without any knowing (of) it done by him" (with "his") or "without putting him and (the) knowing (of) it together" (with "him").
    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    I may not be getting the point, but aren't these clauses both absolute nominative constructions? We don't use the possessive with them.
    "The Rover going ..." certainly is, and I am calling "with me staying ..." another one with "with" added and "me" as the "nominative".
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Absolute constructions are common, but a lot of them are fixed expressions: "that said", "all things considered", "the necessary changes having been made"/"mutatis mutandis", "other things equal"/"ceteris paribus", etc.

    In "that said", for example, "said" modifies "that", and in "other things equal", "equal" modifies "other things". Similarly, "staying on its tail" in our example modifies "me".
    CGEL says this as an example of 'an absolute construction':
    His hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.

    CGEL says the underlined portion is a non-finite clause having 'His hands' as its subject.
    Since this is a clause, gripping the door --not His hands--is the head of the construction.

    If gripping the door modified His hands (as you suggest), the construction would be an NP, not a clause.
    But this construction clearly isn't an NP, because an NP can't come before the matrix clause as follows:
    His hands, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    His hands that are gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:


    But you can have only gripping the door come before the matrix clause:
    Gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses. :tick:

    Here, it's just that the subject of the verb 'gripping' is not 'His hands' but 'He'.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    CGEL says this as an example of 'an absolute construction':
    His hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.

    CGEL says the underlined portion is a non-finite clause having 'His hands' as its subject.
    Since this is a clause, gripping the door --not His hands--is the head of the construction.

    If gripping the door modified His hands (as you suggest), the construction would be an NP, not a clause.
    But this construction clearly isn't an NP, because an NP can't come before the matrix clause as follows:
    His hands, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    His hands that are gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:


    But you can have only gripping the door come before the matrix clause:
    Gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses. :tick:

    Here, it's just that the subject of the verb 'gripping' is not 'His hands' but 'He'.
    We seem to be using different definitions for basic grammatical terms.

    It seems to me the CGEL is using "accusative" for something that used to be instrumental or dative and is now just a default form used for everything except subjects. And it also seems you are accustomed to calling every gerund or present participle a gerund-participle and every gerund phrase or participial phrase a clause.

    Use of the term "reduced relative clause" for a participial phrase seems to assume that the participial phrase is really a relative clause with some words missing, which works fairly well for some participial phrases, but not all of them, and in particular not for the "staying on its tail" phrase we are discussing here.

    I don't mean to imply that any system of terminology is better than another, but I am not personally familiar with the one you are using and am not comfortable trying to employ it myself. I keep hoping for a key to translating the grammar I know to the grammar you know, but I have not found it yet.

    The fact is that "with somebody doing something" has at least two interpretations, depending on context, one of which is similar in meaning to "with somebody's doing something" and the other of which is similar in meaning to "somebody doing something" separated from the clause it modifies by a comma. The phrase "with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether" is of the latter type.

    The phrase "without him knowing it" in that other thread is an example of the former type.

    I hope this helps.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 461) has this section:


    I think CGEL is saying that using 'my' instead of 'me' in [16i] is wrong:
    *We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    More importantly, it seems to me that the boldfaced portion of CGEL is making a blanket statement that the subject of clausal complement of with/without cannot take a genitive form (possessive form).

    I for one wouldn't use 'my' here, but that's just me.
    Theoretically, I know that you can use both 'my' and 'me' as the subject of V-ing, as shown in this thread "Without 'his' knowing it", for example.

    How do you distinguish the CGEL's example/blanket statement from the "Without his knowing it" and other similar threads?
    As wonderful as CGEL is in my respects, it's got one flaw: often, it doesn't really explain the "why" of their reasoning, so we are left with blanket statements (as this case demonstrates). And so without knowing why CGEL says that "staying" can't take a genitive as subject (with my staying), how can we analyse the accuracy of that statement?

    Is CGEL's analysis based on semantics? Since the accusative "me" focuses attention on the person, while the possessive/genitive "my" focuses attention on the action, it makes sense semantically to say with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether, precisely because the focus falls on the person involved. But does that rule out "with my staying," with its focus on the "action"? Semantics is in the eye of the beholder, so I wouldn't go that far. Notice that in that same section CGEL says Pronouns in this position normally appear in the accusative case (bold is mine). "Normally" doesn't mean "always," so right off the bat CGEL leaves the door open for the use of "my," even if a few lines later they say that the gerund-participle can't take a genitive as subject.

    Is CGEL's analysis based on sentence structure/syntax? Saying that "staying" can't take "my" inevitably means that "staying" and "my" are not constituents, meaning that they belong to different structures. Put another way: "me" is the object of "with" (that's why "me" needs to be in the accusative case, not in the possessive/genitive case "my"), while "staying" is what's left after reduction; more precisely, from "with me who was staying on its tail" we get with me staying on its tail. The subject of "staying" is not "me" but the "who" that got deleted along with auxiliary "is," two words that are not really needed (language likes to get rid of things that are not needed). Reduction is exactly what's going on in the second example, where what's reduced/trimmed is a non-reflective relative clause: With me, who'd be out of the way, there would be no one to curb his excesses.

    In any event, it'd be nice to know exactly what CGEL's reasoning is here, but unfortunately, that's missing.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I just don't see "With me out of the way, there would be no one to curb his excesses" as equivalent to "With me, who'd be out of the way, there would be no one to curb his excesses."

    And I agree with JungKim that "We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether" obviously does not mean "We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me who'd be staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether."

    In both cases, the meaning is changed by the addition of those extra words, and the change in meaning does not feel like happenstance but like the reflex of a change in grammatical structure.

    But our sentence also does not, and cannot, mean "We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether."

    The problem I see occurs at the boundary between syntax and semantics. The notion that a participial phrase within an absolute construction is somehow a relative clause with some words missing is foreign to me because the words that are supposedly "deleted" always change the meaning in a fundamental way. And changing "him" to "his" in our sentence also fundamentally changes the meaning, making that normal sentence into something almost nonsensical.
     

    Yichen

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    To me, two sentences need a connector. If there isn't one, the verb in one of the sentences should be reformed as a "v-ing" form or sometimes as a "to-do" form.

    If we shift the topic sentence back, we can see it consists of three parts:
    1. We set off again.
    2. The Rover went precariously slowly in very low gear up hills.
    3. ___(stay) on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    Obviously, sentence3 should read as:
    I stayed on its tail in case it petered out altogether, because "I stayed" is in parallel with "the Rover went" in sentence2

    It is "I" (me) who are doing something, and it is not something else ("my doing something" in this case.)

    So it points to "me staying..."


    As for the "with", it is optional in most cases.:D
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Paul, I do wish this were as simple as you make it out to be.
    But I think your reduced version "We set off again with me" conveys a completely different meaning from the original version.
    You have to bear in mind that "me" is heavily modified into a much longer phrase/clause.

    In your reduced version, "with" simply indicates that "we" and "me" performed the act of "setting off again" together, which is nonsensical if "we" includes "me", which I think it does in context.
    I'm sorry JungKim, We = the party/group set off - I set of too, with the party, but I was also doing something that I specify.

    "We left at 10 o'clock with me at the head of the line."
    We set off {again, ... with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.}
    ..............{.......................................all this is adverbial................................}
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    We seem to be using different definitions for basic grammatical terms.
    ...
    I don't mean to imply that any system of terminology is better than another, but I am not personally familiar with the one you are using and am not comfortable trying to employ it myself. I keep hoping for a key to translating the grammar I know to the grammar you know, but I have not found it yet.
    I think using different terminology is a non-issue here. Even professional linguists who tend to use a much more complex system of terminology than the rest use different terminology but they have no problem communicating with one another. That said, for those terms you mentioned, I'll provide as much explanation as I can below in order to facilitate the discussion.

    It seems to me the CGEL is using "accusative" for something that used to be instrumental or dative and is now just a default form used for everything except subjects.
    I don't know why you suspect CGEL's use of the term is any different from traditional grammar, but as far as I know, CGEL didn't redefine the term at all. In CGEL, 'me' is the accusative case ('I' nominative and 'my' genitive) just as in traditional grammar.

    And it also seems you are accustomed to calling every gerund or present participle a gerund-participle and every gerund phrase or participial phrase a clause.
    There's nothing enigmatic about the term 'gerund-participle'. It's an effort on the part of CGEL not to distinguish 'gerund' and 'present participle' because they share the same form, and because CGEL thinks it's hard and useless in most cases to try to distinguish one from the other based on their function. Although I myself tend to not use 'gerund-participle' but use 'V-ing' instead in order not to confuse anyone who's not familiar with the term, it's really not that big a deal even if someone uses it, because you can simply think of it as 'V-ing'.

    Now, if you don't like to call a verb phrase (such as a gerund phrase or participial phrase) a clause, that's fine with me. Then, I'll just call every gerund phrase or participial phrase a 'verb phrase'. I'm sure you're okay with that, because gerund or participle is a form of a verb.

    Use of the term "reduced relative clause" for a participial phrase seems to assume that the participial phrase is really a relative clause with some words missing, which works fairly well for some participial phrases, but not all of them, and in particular not for the "staying on its tail" phrase we are discussing here.
    As for "reduced relative clause", it's a term used only by PaulQ. And CGEL doesn't view a participial phrase modifying a noun as a "reduced relative clause", because you can't insert a relative word (who, which, etc) in the participial phrase.

    So, let's forget about the term. And let's focus on the structure itself.
    In "with me staying on its tail", you keep saying that "staying on its tail" modifies "me". If a participial phrase modifies a (pro)noun, the whole thing is a noun phrase (even in traditional grammar), isn't it?

    What I was trying to do in post #11 was simply trying to point out that the absolute construction (e.g., His hands gripping the door) is not an NP. Since you don't like to use the term 'clause' for a non-finite clause, I'll not go as far as to call the absolute construction a clause. But it's never an NP any way you slice it. If you have to stick to the term 'phrase', it's a verb phrase (with a subject), because the head of the construction is gripping the door, not His hands, as has been made abundantly clear in post #11.

    The fact is that "with somebody doing something" has at least two interpretations, depending on context, one of which is similar in meaning to "with somebody's doing something" and the other of which is similar in meaning to "somebody doing something" separated from the clause it modifies by a comma. The phrase "with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether" is of the latter type.

    The phrase "without him knowing it" in that other thread is an example of the former type.
    This distinction is not in line with my understanding of the absolute construction as set forth above. So, I cannot understand it.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    But our sentence also does not, and cannot, mean "We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether."
    I see you're agreeing with CGEL in that 'my' cannot work here. But your only reasoning for that seems to be that "staying on its tail" cannot be modifying "my". But I object to that reasoning, because "staying on its tail" doesn't modify "me" even if you don't view it as a 'reduced relative clause', which CGEL and I don't.

    The problem I see occurs at the boundary between syntax and semantics. The notion that a participial phrase within an absolute construction is somehow a relative clause with some words missing is foreign to me because the words that are supposedly "deleted" always change the meaning in a fundamental way. And changing "him" to "his" in our sentence also fundamentally changes the meaning, making that normal sentence into something almost nonsensical.
    I have never vouched for that notion.

    In fact, the relative clause example in post #11 is not there to say the absolute construction is reduced from the relative clause, but to say the opposite -- that the absolute construction cannot be viewed as a noun modified by a participial phrase.
    His hands, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    His hands that are gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I don't know why you suspect CGEL's use of the term is any different from traditional grammar, but as far as I know, CGEL didn't redefine the term at all. In CGEL, 'me' is the accusative case ('I' nominative and 'my' genitive) just as in traditional grammar.
    It seems you and I were taught very different traditions.
    There's nothing enigmatic about the term 'gerund-participle'. It's an effort on the part of CGEL not to distinguish 'gerund' and 'present participle' because they share the same form, and because CGEL thinks it's hard and useless in most cases to try to distinguish one from the other based on their function.
    The distinction between "gerund" (like a noun) and "present participle" (like an adjective) is useful in most cases, but not in all cases.
    Then, I'll just call every gerund phrase or participial phrase a 'verb phrase'. I'm sure you're okay with that, because gerund or participle is a form of a verb.
    A participle is a derivative of a verb that is grammatically different from a verb because it has a somewhat different function. A gerund is too.
    In "with me staying on its tail", you keep saying that "staying on its tail" modifies "me". If a participial phrase modifies a (pro)noun, the whole thing is a noun phrase (even in traditional grammar), isn't it?
    Yes.
    What I was trying to do in post #11 was simply trying to point out that the absolute construction (e.g., His hands gripping the door) is not an NP. Since you don't like to use the term 'clause' for a non-finite clause, I'll not go as far as to call the absolute construction a clause. But it's never an NP any way you slice it. If you have to stick to the term 'phrase', it's a verb phrase (with a subject), because the head of the construction is gripping the door, not His hands, as has been made abundantly clear in post #11.
    In the tradition I am familiar with, it is as much a noun phrase as a participle is a verb. In other words, it takes the form of, and follows the rules for, a noun phrase, but it has an extended function that allows it to modify a clause.
    In fact, the relative clause example in post #11 is not there to say the absolute construction is reduced from the relative clause, but to say the opposite -- that the absolute construction cannot be viewed as a noun modified by a participial phrase.
    His hands, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    His hands that are gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    And yet it is viewed as a modified noun:

    here,
    here,
    here,
    and here.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It seems you and I were taught very different traditions.
    You do call 'me' an accusative case, don't you?
    Even the definition of 'accusative' in Word Ref. Dictionaries is in line with 'me' being accusative.
    Could you elaborate how you think this is something different from 'your' grammar?

    The distinction between "gerund" (like a noun) and "present participle" (like an adjective) is useful in most cases, but not in all cases.
    A participle is a derivative of a verb that is grammatically different from a verb because it has a somewhat different function. A gerund is too.
    In most cases, a gerund is not like a noun; a gerund phrase is.
    In most cases, a present participle is not like an adjective; a present participial phrase is.

    Only when a gerund has no complement/adjunct does a gerund act like a noun (and it still is a verb). And the same is the case with a present participle acting like an adjective.

    Seeing is believing.
    The one dancing is my brother.


    Here, you don't have any complement/adjunct of the verb see, believe or dance. So, you can say seeing and believing act like a noun, and that dancing an adjective.

    But this type of example is few and far between.
    Normally you'd have some complement(s)/adjunct(s) of the verbs following:

    Seeing a picture
    is much more effective.
    The one dancing on the floor is my brother.


    Here, it's wrong to say the gerund seeing acts like a noun, because it's the whole thing seeing a picture that acts like a noun. Likewise, it's wrong to say the present participle dancing acts like an adjective, because it's the whole thing dancing on the floor that acts like a adjective.

    Note that "gerund" and "present participle" are always verbs whether or not they have complement(s)/adjunct(s).

    And yet it is viewed as a modified noun:

    here,
    here,
    here,
    and here.
    In none of the links do they say that His hands is modified by gripping the door.

    The first link doesn't even discuss the relationship between His hands and gripping the door but it only talks about "adverbial modifying phrase", which refers to the whole thing His hands gripping the door modifying the main clause like an adverbial phrase.

    The second link only says
    ‘Absolute phrases’ or ‘absolute constructions’ are grammatically independent of the following clause. They may be verbless, but usually contain a verb in its present or past participial form referring to a noun or pronoun.
    I think 'refer to' is a broader term than 'modify'. In fact, you can even say a verb refers to a subject in a clause.

    The third link says:
    ablative absolute (plural ablatives absolute or ablative absolutes)
    1. (grammar) A construction in Latin and Oscan and Umbrian in which an independent phrase with a noun in the ablative case has a participle, adjective, or noun, expressed or implied, which agrees with it in gender, number and case – both words forming a clause grammatically unconnected with the rest of the sentence.
    So this definition even says that a noun and a participle do form a clause. That means, His hands gripping the door is indeed a clause, not an NP.

    The last one says:
    ABSOLUTE PHRASE = noun/pronoun + participle + modifiers, objects, or complements
    An absolute phrase often includes a noun or pronoun, a participle, and any modifiers, objects or complements of the phrase. Usually set off by commas, it modifies an entire sentence rather than a specific word.
    In our absolute construction His hands gripping the door, this link says that the door corresponds to "any modifiers, objects or complements of the phrase". What it's not saying is that gripping the door modifies His hands.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Jung Kim, you asked this exact question in the stack exchange two days ago. Are you getting any better answers here?
    You can see for yourself. :)

    Does entering two horses in the same race improve your chances of winning?
    I don't know about 'winning', but sometimes it gives you some additional perspective, especially when the question is as hard as this one. So far, it doesn't look terribly good.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    You do call 'me' an accusative case, don't you?
    No, I don't.
    Even the definition of 'accusative' in Word Ref. Dictionaries is in line with 'me' being accusative.
    Could you elaborate how you think this is something different from 'your' grammar?
    I'd rather not. I can accept that the CGEL uses "accusative" for Modern English "me", "him", etc., regardless of their derivation or usage.
    In most cases, a gerund is not like a noun; a gerund phrase is.
    In most cases, a present participle is not like an adjective; a present participial phrase is.

    Only when a gerund has no complement/adjunct does a gerund act like a noun (and it still is a verb). And the same is the case with a present participle acting like an adjective.
    I agree. I was using a sort of grammatical shorthand.
    Note that "gerund" and "present participle" are always verbs whether or not they have complement(s)/adjunct(s).
    I call them "verbals" or nonfinite forms with some verb-like complements and adjuncts but with non-verb functions. They don't have tense and are the main words in noun phrases and adjective phrases rather than in predicates. Their notional subjects are either absent or expressed covertly (e.g. as objects or possessives).
    In none of the links do they say that His hands is modified by gripping the door.
    Maybe "refers to" is too broad and "modifies" not quite right the right verb either.

    Think of something like "They were eating out of the palm of my hand" or "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand." What is the relationship of "eating out of the palm of my hand" to "they" or "them"? Or the relationship between "fair" and "them" in "I thought them fair"?
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Think of something like "They were eating out of the palm of my hand" or "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand." What is the relationship of "eating out of the palm of my hand" to "they" or "them"? Or the relationship between "fair" and "them" in "I thought them fair"?
    They were eating out of the palm of my hand.
    I had them eating out of the palm of my hand.
    I thought them fair.


    None of the underlined portions 'modifies' anything in CGEL or traditional grammar or any other grammar that I know of.

    <CGEL's analysis>

    In the first two examples, the underlined portion is a non-finite clause with no subject, but the subject (they/them) is recoverable from the matrix clause.

    Specifically, in the first example, the underlined non-finite clause is complement of the verb 'were'.

    In the second one, the underline non-finite clause is complement of the verb 'had', which has another complement 'them' as a raised object. This means that 'them' is syntactically object of 'had', but that semantically 'them' is not object of 'had' but subject of the underlined non-finite clause.

    In the third one, fair is predicative complement (PC) of the verb 'thought', which also takes another complement 'them' as object. The PC denotes a property that is ascribed to the referent of the object 'them'. In short, it doesn't modify 'them', but simply describes it.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    What about the following?

    I had their eating out of the palm of my hand.

    I see this as very different from by second example, both in form and in meaning, but would you say that my second example and this sentence are semantically equivalent?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I don't know why you're showing me what I think you know is impossible English. :)

    I had them eating out of the palm of my hand.:tick:

    I had their eating out of the palm of my hand.:cross:


    (Or is it possible in your dialect?)

    Like I said, 'them' is a raised object of 'had', which role cannot be assumed by 'their'.

    And even if the latter has an entirely different construction, I don't think it works, because their cannot be omitted.
    I had eating out of the palm of my hand.:cross:
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I don't know why you're showing me what I think you know is impossible English. :)

    I had them eating out of the palm of my hand.:tick:

    I had their eating out of the palm of my hand.:cross:


    (Or is it possible in your dialect?)
    It's as possible as your "with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether", and equally strange.
    Like I said, 'them' is a raised object of 'had', which role cannot be assumed by 'their'.

    And even if the latter has an entirely different construction, I don't think it works, because their cannot be omitted.
    I had eating out of the palm of my hand.:cross:
    So let's say "me" in the original sentence is a raised object of "with", which role cannot be assumed by "my", and that even if "my staying ..." is possible in the original sentence, the "my" in question cannot be omitted:

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.:cross:

    I don't know what a raised object is, but I suspect that if had can have one, with can have one too, at least with with the meaning it has in the original sentence.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It's as possible as your "with my staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether", and equally strange.
    Forero, I've already made it clear I myself wouldn't use the OP's my-construction. So, I find it rather uncalled for to call the my-construction as mine. :D

    I was simply looking for a way to explain the apparent impossibility of using 'my' in the OP in particular, and a way to doublecheck the validity of CGEL's blanket claim that 'with/without + genitive NP + gerund-participial phrase' is impossible in general when the 'genitive NP' is subject of the gerund-participial phrase.

    So let's say "me" in the original sentence is a raised object of "with", which role cannot be assumed by "my", and that even if "my staying ..." is possible in the original sentence, the "my" in question cannot be omitted:

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.:cross:

    I don't know what a raised object is, but I suspect that if had can have one, with can have one too, at least with with the meaning it has in the original sentence.
    Actually, I've been wondering if prepositions can take raised objects (as you suggest) and have already asked this question in another site. But no one there seems to know as of yet if there's such a thing as a preposition taking a raised object.

    Regarding the concept of 'raising', this wiki might help, if you're interested.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Forero, I've already made it clear I myself wouldn't use the OP's my-construction. So, I find it rather uncalled for to call the my-construction as mine. :D

    I was simply looking for a way to explain the apparent impossibility of using 'my' in the OP in particular, and a way to doublecheck the validity of CGEL's blanket claim that 'with/without + genitive NP + gerund-participial phrase' is impossible in general when the 'genitive NP' is subject of the gerund-participial phrase.
    Well, you did create that wording, even if you wouldn't use it in real life. :D

    I don't believe that wording is impossible, just semantically different and very unusual in the original context.

    And "without his knowing it" is certainly a good counterexample to their blanket statement.
    Actually, I've been wondering if prepositions can take raised objects (as you suggest) and have already asked this question in another site. But no one there seems to know as of yet if there's such a thing as a preposition taking a raised object.

    Regarding the concept of 'raising', this wiki might help, if you're interested.
    Thank you for pointing me to something I can understand (I think).

    Now that I have read up on object raising on Wikipedia, I do believe a preposition can take a raised object and that this is indeed the issue here. Some things to consider:
    • With has more than one possible meaning, so context is important, including the semantics of the particular verb whose subject either is or is not raised.
    • The fact that a phrasal verb such as "count on" can raise an object tells us something, since "on" is a preposition as is evident in the fact that its object must follow it, not precede it. I believe we can find a verb + preposition combination that raises an object and that does not have to be seen as a phrasal verb.
    • I believe we can construct a sentence in which a preposition can be replaced with a transitive V-ing with little to no change in meaning.
    • At least in my dialect of English, the him I call a raised object is naturally pronounced with a full h sound in environments in which the him that alternates with his is not. In other words, the difference is real and can be indicated in speech by degree of stress.
    Let me know if my taking time to create specific examples would be helpful to you.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks for taking the time to read the raising thing and for offering to provide further examples.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    One thing about a preposition taking a raised object, though, is whether a preposition (not part of a verb phrase as in 'count on') can take two complements, one being the raised object (e.g., me) and the other being a gerund-participial phrase (e.g, staying on its tail).
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thanks for taking the time to read the raising thing and for offering to provide further examples.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    One thing about a preposition taking a raised object, though, is whether a preposition (not part of a verb phrase as in 'count on') can take two complements, one being the raised object (e.g., me) and the other being a gerund-participial phrase (e.g, staying on its tail).
    Is that a requirement for a raised object?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Is that a requirement for a raised object?
    Less a requirement than the very feature of 'raising' itself, I think.
    That a verb takes a raised object means that the verb also takes a subordinate non-finite clause from which the object is raised to the matrix clause. So the verb taking a raised object inherently has two complements.
    Similarly, if a preposition takes a raised object, the same should be the case with the preposition, as shown in post #30.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I am afraid we still don't have workable terminology. :(

    I started with the conversation (on liguistics.stackexchange.com) that you linked to in #28. There the only person responding to your question not only says prepositions can't raise to objects but links to a write-up saying that raising to objects can only be done to subjects of infinitives and only when those infinitives function as noun clauses.

    After further reading, and after rereading the Wikipedia article you linked to, I am led to the same conclusion.

    Whatever is happening in "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand" is not raising, and whatever is happening in absolute constructions is not raising either.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I started with the conversation (on liguistics.stackexchange.com) that you linked to in #28. There the only person responding to your question not only says prepositions can't raise to objects but links to a write-up saying that raising to objects can only be done to subjects of infinitives and only when those infinitives function as noun clauses.

    After further reading, and after rereading the Wikipedia article you linked to, I am led to the same conclusion.
    I think you're referring to this document, which does claim "Raising is restricted to infinitive complements." But the document fails to explain why Raising is not possible with participial complements. In fact, it doesn't even show a single such example to prove the claim.

    But CGEL shows quite a few examples with a raised object followed by a participle clause:
    I saw my cat being mistreated by Kim. (Page 1206)
    We had seen there developing between them a highly destructive antagonism. (Page 1206)
    He got his son examined by a specialist. (Page 1236)
    He had his son examined by a specialist. (Page 1236)

    In all these examples and more, CGEL states that the boldfaced NPs are 'raised objects'.

    Whatever is happening in "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand" is not raising, and whatever is happening in absolute constructions is not raising either.
    According to the last example above, I think "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand" is a raising construction.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I think you're referring to this document, which does claim "Raising is restricted to infinitive complements." But the document fails to explain why Raising is not possible with participial complements. In fact, it doesn't even show a single such example to prove the claim.
    It seems that document was written by the same person responding to your question.

    At this point I have several problems with what he is saying. For one thing, I don't think the infinitives in his examples are all NPs.
    But CGEL shows quite a few examples with a raised object followed by a participle clause:
    I saw my cat being mistreated by Kim. (Page 1206)
    We had seen there developing between them a highly destructive antagonism. (Page 1206)
    He got his son examined by a specialist. (Page 1236)
    He had his son examined by a specialist. (Page 1236)

    In all these examples and more, CGEL states that the boldfaced NPs are 'raised objects'.
    I wonder how CGEL views absolute constructions.
    According to the last example above, I think "I had them eating out of the palm of my hand" is a raising construction.
    I think so too, though I am a little uneasy about putting "have" and "get" in with "see":

    ?? We had there developing between them a highly destructive antagonism.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I wonder how CGEL views absolute constructions.
    CGEL's view on it has been shown in post #11. What more would you need?

    I think so too, though I am a little uneasy about putting "have" and "get" in with "see":

    ?? We had there developing between them a highly destructive antagonism.
    Regarding the last example, this is what CGEL has to say:
    ...we have equivalence between He had a specialist examine his son and He had his son examined by a specialist; this indicates a raised object, which ties in with the fact that have is also used with a non-causative “undergo” sense: He had the police call round in the middle of the night to question him about his secretary’s disappearance, where the visit was something that happened to him rather than something he arranged--and where there would seem to be no direct semantic relation between verb and object.
    So I guess being able to take there as object is not a necessary condition for a raised construction.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    CGEL says this as an example of 'an absolute construction':
    His hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.

    CGEL says the underlined portion is a non-finite clause having 'His hands' as its subject.
    Since this is a clause, gripping the door --not His hands--is the head of the construction.

    If gripping the door modified His hands (as you suggest), the construction would be an NP, not a clause.
    But this construction clearly isn't an NP, because an NP can't come before the matrix clause as follows:
    His hands, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:
    His hands that are gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:cross:


    But you can have only gripping the door come before the matrix clause:
    Gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses. :tick:

    Here, it's just that the subject of the verb 'gripping' is not 'His hands' but 'He'.
    An absolute expression like "his hands gripping the door" is not just a clause. It has to be distinguished from a clause such as "his gripping the door", which is no more an absolute construction than "his hands". Clauses with raised objects have a lot in common with absolute expressions:

    He got his hands gripping the door.

    My cat being mistreated by Kim, I let out a volley of curses.
    There developing between them a highly destructive antagonism, he let out a volley of curses.
    His son now examined by a specialist, he felt some of his original optimism returning.


    and adding a non-causative "having" in front of an absolute construction often does no harm to the meaning:

    Having his hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.
    Having my cat being mistreated by Kim, I let out a volley of curses.
    Having his son now examined by a specialist, he felt some of his original optimism returning.

    ... or adding "with":

    With his hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.
    (What) with my cat being mistreated by Kim, I let out a volley of curses.
    With there developing between them a highly destructive antagonism, he let out a volley of curses.
    With his son now examined by a specialist, he felt some of his original optimism returning.


    Somewhere in all this is the reason changing "me" to "my" is not appropriate in the original sentence (just as "his hands'", "my cat's", "there's", and "his son's" are not appropriate in any of the above sentences).

    And just as we have to specify "non-causative" for "have", we need to particularize this "with". Not every "with" has the property we are looking for.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    An absolute expression like "his hands gripping the door" is not just a clause. It has to be distinguished from a clause such as "his gripping the door", which is no more an absolute construction than "his hands". Clauses with raised objects have a lot in common with absolute expressions:
    It's not clear what you mean an absolute construction is "not just a clause".

    Do you mean it's "just not a clause" (i.e., not a clause at all)? Or that it's a clause but not the same kind of clause as "his gripping the door"?

    As shown in post #11, CGEL considers an absolute construction a non-finite clause, and I agree and here's why:

    His hands gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses. [absolute construction]
    Gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses. [participial construction]

    The only difference between these two constructions (the underlined portions) is that the former has His hands whereas the latter doesn't.
    Syntactically, the latter lacks subject, which is recoverable from the matrix clause and is he.

    Now for the sake of argument, let's just assume (as you suggest) that the latter is not a clause (syntactically), which means that His hands is not a syntactic part of gripping the door, and that now the semantic subject is recoverable not from the matrix clause but from the construction itself and is His hands.

    This analysis of the absolute construction is in line with your analysis that His hands is not the syntactic subject of gripping the door, which necessarily leads to the nonsensical conclusion that His hands lacks any syntactic role. I mean, how could an NP lack any syntactic role? The only syntactic role it can have is subject of gripping the door, so it should be analyzed as the syntactic subject.

    Also, the NP in the absolute construction differs from a raised object as in:
    He got me gripping the door.

    Here, me cannot be a nominative case ("I").
    He got I gripping the door. :cross:

    But this is possible in the absolute construction:
    I gripping the door, he let out a volley of curses.:tick:

    So, if disallowing a genitive NP is the primary reason for treating the absolute construction and the raised-object construction as similar constructions, I wonder why they should not be treated as different constructions based on their different treatment of a nominative NP.

    And just as we have to specify "non-causative" for "have", we need to particularize this "with". Not every "with" has the property we are looking for.
    Are you suggesting that "have" can have a raised object only when it denotes a "non-causative" meaning as in He had the police call round in the middle of the night to question him about his secretary’s disappearance?

    If so, I don't think CGEL agrees with you, because CGEL's other examples in post #36 I think have the causative verb 'had' taking raised objects:
    He had a specialist examine his son
    He had his son examined by a specialist


    And I agree that these convey a causative meaning in normal context.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    By "not just a clause" I do not mean "just not a clause".

    Two sentences with absolute constructions:

    His favourite pastime swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.
    His elderly sister swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.


    It is not enough, as I see it, to just call both absolute constructions clauses of which "his favourite pastime" is the subject in the first sentence and "his elderly sister" is the subject in the second without noting the elephant in the room.

    To me it's obvious "swimming the English channel" is a gerund phrase in the first sentence but a participial phrase in the second. And this is why only the second sentence is about two events happening at the same time and why only the second sentence suggests a shared stamina.

    The first "swimming the English channel" is a NP, like "blocks of ice" in "His feet now blocks of ice, Jack could no longer lift them over the log", whereas the second is more like "wet" in "His hands wet, he gripped the door."

    "His gripping the door" is a NP built around a gerund. "His" is a determiner, in particular a possessive adjective. It also provides the semantic subject for the gerund.

    The difference between the gerund function of the V-ing in "his gripping the door" and the participle function in the absolute construction "he/him gripping the door" is significant. Though "his" in one and "he/him" in the other both provide the subject for "gripping", they at the same time play distinct roles and the two constructions are not equivalent.

    Nor, as I think we have already established, is the absolute "he/him gripping the door" merely a NP consisting of a pronoun modified by a participial phrase. Ditto for that "his hands gripping the door".

    Similarly, a raised object that provides the subject for a participial phrase does not make that participial phrase into a NP, even though that participial phrase does not modify that raised object.

    And this brings us to "without his knowing it" as opposed to "with me staying on its tail ...". "Knowing" here is a gerund particularized by "his": "Without his knowing it" = "without his knowledge". But "staying" here is a participle. Though it does not modify "me", the two together form a construction that functions as the object of the preposition "with".
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    After much thinking, for me, this boils down to Occam's Razor: One should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. Or, put another way, the simplest explanation is the likeliest explanation.

    So, going back to the original example, where "me" is acceptable and "my" ruled out:

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    The answer can't be raising. Raising is governed by verbs (and some adjectives), not prepositions. (Then again, I read somewhere, some time ago, that there's a case to be made for prepositional raising in Irish English.) More importantly, this is not a question of whether or not we have raising governed by "with; rather, there is no raising at all here. Raising involves movement from a lower/embedded clause to a higher/matrix clause. Here, in this wording, separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma:

    with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether

    all we have is "with" followed by a non-finite clause. There's no lower/embedded clause, and no higher/matrix clause. Accordingly, there's no raising.

    The answer also can't be that "with" assigns accusative case ("me") and not possessive case ("my"). As shown earlier in this thread, we can simply omit "with," leaving a grammatical sentence:

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    Too many assumptions are needed to make the above work; that raising doesn't need higher/lower clauses, that prepositions govern raising, that "with" assigns case, that "with" assigns cause even when it is absent, etc.

    The simplest explanation is this: me is the unmarked pronoun, the "default" pronoun that doesn't require any special environment to appear, other than representing the subject of the non-finite verb. In other words, syntax prefers/settles for "me" because there's no reason/need to use "my." In fact, using "my" comes across as distinctly wrong. What evidence is there for "me" as the unmarked pronoun preferred by syntax? Notice that "me" is also the pronoun that appears if we expand the narrative this way:

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether. Me. Only me. No one else stayed on its tail. Just me.

    The possessive appears in a special environment: where it places focus on the action (without his knowing it) while the accusative places the focus on the person (without him knowing it). If the change in focus between "person" and "activity" is contextually non-existent/irrelevant/inadmissible, syntax will simply fall back on the unmarked/default pronoun: me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    Now, what CGEL doesn't say (as far as I can remember) is that the subject pronoun is also acceptable in such constructions (though less likely because it comes across as too formal):

    We set off again, the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills, I staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether.

    Now, in case you think that there's a conjunction and an auxiliary omitted (and I was staying on its tail...), consider this, where there's no auxiliary omitted:

    Kasparov easily won the tournament, with him being the best chess player in the world
    Kasparov easily won the tournament, him being the best chess player in the world
    Kasparov easily won the tournament, he being the best chess player in the world

    And so while syntax rules out the use of "his," it leaves the door open for "I."




     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    @SevenDays: I have some questions about your explanation:
    • Why is the concept of raising needed at all, even for verbs?
    • What is "his hands" in "His hands wet, he gripped the door"?
    • What is "wet" in "Wet, his hand gripped the door"?
    • What is different about these two introductory clauses:
    His favourite pastime swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.
    His elderly sister swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    His favourite pastime swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.
    His elderly sister swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.
    I would think that the first absolute construction is a verbless clause. Granted, the gerund-participle swimming there is a verb, but it is not a verb of --does not describe the action of -- the purported subject His favourite pastime. (Cf. the swimming in the second example does describe the action of His elderly sister.)

    The real verb describing the subject is the omitted being:
    His favourite pastime being swimming the English channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.

    Semantically as well as syntactically, the NP His favourite pastime is the subject of not the gerund-participle swimming but the gerund-participle being.

    But a raised construction requires an NP that is the semantic subject of the following non-finite clause, so it only stands to reason that your first example is to be distinguished from a raised construction, simply because His favourite pastime cannot be the semantic subject of swimming, rather than because of any other reason such as:
    Similarly, a raised object that provides the subject for a participial phrase does not make that participial phrase into a NP, even though that participial phrase does not modify that raised object.
    Finally...
    And this brings us to "without his knowing it" as opposed to "with me staying on its tail ...". "Knowing" here is a gerund particularized by "his": "Without his knowing it" = "without his knowledge". But "staying" here is a participle. Though it does not modify "me", the two together form a construction that functions as the object of the preposition "with".
    In the last sentence, do you mean that the construction "me staying on its tail" constitutes a non-finite clause (as suggested by CGEL) or that it is a raised construction of sorts?

    Raising involves movement from a lower/embedded clause to a higher/matrix clause. Here, in this wording, separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma:

    with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether

    all we have is "with" followed by a non-finite clause. There's no lower/embedded clause, and no higher/matrix clause. Accordingly, there's no raising.
    There is a lower/embedded clause: staying on its tail
    There's no higher/matrix clause, but that's just because with alone cannot form a clause, not because with is not something higher than staying on its tail. In fact, staying on its tail is clearly subordinate to with.

    So, I think it's a matter of whether to allow the concept of raising to be expanded to prepositions like with, rather than a matter of whether there is another "level" to which the object can be raised.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    @SevenDays: I have some questions about your explanation:
    • Why is the concept of raising needed at all, even for verbs?
    Well, raising helps us see the true structure of such sentences as:


    Mary seems to tell the truth
    Mary wants to tell the truth


    Superficially, both sentences look the same (the subject “Mary” precedes the main, finite verb), but their syntax is quite different. “Mary” is not really the subject of seems (in linguistic talk: “Mary” is not an “argument” of seems), whereas “Mary” is indeed the subject/argument of “wants.”

    In actuality, the argument of seems is a proposition represented as a that-clause, not a “person.” This becomes evident in

    It seems that Nancy tells the truth

    where seems takes “it” as (dummy) subject, and the proposition-argument represented by the that-clause is moved to the end of the sentence via extraposition. The implication of this is that seems is one-argument verb.

    Raising only applies to non-finite infinitive complements. Thus, in Nancy seems to tell the truth, “Nancy” originates as the subject of the infinitive in the lower subordinate clause

    seems [Nancy to tell the truth]

    and is raised (i.e. moves from the lower clause) to become the subject of the main/higher clause

    Nancy seems__ to tell the truth
    ↑__________|

    Raising doesn’t occur with finite clauses, which is why in It seems that Nancy tells the truth “Nancy” remains as subject inside the finite that-clause.

    By contrast, want is a two-argument verb. “Mary” is one of the two arguments; the other is the infinitive. (Accordingly, wants can't take "it" as subject plus a that-clause, in the way that seems can.) Here, there’s no movement, and therefore no raising. There’s a different phenomenon at work here, known as control. In Mary wants to tell the truth, ”wants” controls both its subject and the subject of “to tell.” Since the subject of the lower clause is the same as the subject of the higher clause, the subject of the infinitive gets deleted.

    Nancy wants Nancy to tell the truth


    The difference between raising and control is that in raising the subject of the main clause is not in a semantic relationship with the verb (that’s why you can use dummy it, i.e. it seems), while in control, the subject and the verb of the main clause form a semantic relationship (the subject is an argument of the verb).

    Now, there are still unresolved issues regarding raising, particularly regarding object raising (also governed by verbs), so the whole issue is a matter of debate among scholars.

    To me, these are non-finite clauses, a.k.a. absolute clauses, supplement clauses (in CGEL terminology, unless I’m mistaken). Syntactically, these clauses always have a non-finite verb; semantically, these clauses always add information/context.

    In both cases, you’ve omitted information, something typically done to non-finite clauses (the missing information is always known contextually). In your first example, all that’s missing is the non-finite verb, which is understood to be “being:”

    His hands being wet, he gripped the door

    The more information that’s omitted, the more difficult it is for an outsider to put that information back in the sentence. In your second example, we don’t know “what” is wet (his hand? His body? His hair?). Whatever the “what” is (the noun functioning as subject), the verb is non-finite:

    (Undisclosed Subject) being wet, he gripped the door

    Well, you have two introductory/absolute clauses that look the same, but they have different syntax.

    In the first example, auxiliary “be” is missing; put it back in (in its -ing form because this is an absolute construction) and we see that the two noun phrases in the introductory clause can switch places:

    His favorite pastime being swimming the English Channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.

    Swimming the English channel being his favorite pastime, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.


    (The second version sounds better, at least to my ears; it avoids putting two -ing words together.)

    There’s no missing auxiliary missing in the introductory/absolute clause of the second example. We understand that “His elderly sister” is the agent of “swimming,” and the agent of this active, non-finite clause appears exactly where one would expect to find it, preceding the verb.

    His elderly sister (agent) swimming the English Channel, Jack had no trouble getting across the lake.

    By contrast, there’s no agent in the introductory/absolute construction of the first example. (The agent is understood to be “Jack,” but “Jack” is only explicitly mentioned in the finite clause that follows, not in the non-finite introductory clause.) Absent the agent in the introductory clause, both noun phrases (“His favorite pastime” and “Swimming the English Channel”) can appear in the “subject position” (preceding the non-finite verb “being”).

    Bottom line: the presence or absence of an agent in the introductory clause makes a difference in the structure/interpretation of the clause (and there’s no need or reason to invoke raising here (because raising involves infinitives), in case you were wondering).
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    There is a lower/embedded clause: staying on its tail
    There's no higher/matrix clause, but that's just because with alone cannot form a clause, not because with is not something higher than staying on its tail. In fact, staying on its tail is clearly subordinate to with.

    So, I think it's a matter of whether to allow the concept of raising to be expanded to prepositions like with, rather than a matter of whether there is another "level" to which the object can be raised.
    Well, if there's no higher clause, how can there be a lower clause? Lower stands in opposition to higher. If there is no higher, then there is no lower. Movement from higher to lower is one of the key elements involved in raising.

    I also question whether "staying on its tail" is subordinate to "with." Subordination implies that one element (the -ing clause) depends on another (the preposition), forming a constituent in sentence structure. A subordinate clause is also known as a dependent clause. But Forero showed earlier on that we can drop "with" altogether, meaning that "staying on its tail" doesn't depend on "with" to appear in our sentence, which undermines the notion of subordination. In fact, a case can be made that this "with" is not a preposition at all, but rather an introductory element that plays no grammatical function and only adds expressiveness to the clause. Accordingly, the "with" of our original example could be just described as a particle, a word that doesn't fit into any of the traditional parts of speech.

    In any event, this is just another topic in syntax that begs for more research.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    But Forero showed earlier on that we can drop "with" altogether, meaning that "staying on its tail" doesn't depend on "with" to appear in our sentence, which undermines the notion of subordination.
    Just because you can drop "with" without significantly changing the semantics of the construction doesn't mean the syntax of the construction remains the same with or without "with". So, syntactically, "staying on its tail" does depend on "with".

    In fact, a case can be made that this "with" is not a preposition at all, but rather an introductory element that plays no grammatical function and only adds expressiveness to the clause. Accordingly, the "with" of our original example could be just described as a particle, a word that doesn't fit into any of the traditional parts of speech.
    I disagree that 'with' is "an introductory element that plays no grammatical function and only adds expressiveness to the clause".

    Regardless of whether it is a particle, I cannot accept that it has no grammatical function. I believe that even particles have their own grammatical function.

    Moreover, just because something doesn't fit into any of the traditional parts of speech doesn't mean it lacks any grammatical function.

    Furthermore, it's not even entirely correct to say that a particle "doesn't fit into any of the traditional parts of speech", per CGEL, which says this (p280):
    The most central particles are prepositions--intransitive prepositions, of course, since they are one-word phrases. The class of particles also contains some adjectives and verbs, but these are restricted to a fairly small number of verbal idioms (He made clear his intentions; They cut short their holiday; She let go his hand), whereas prepositional particles are found readily in both idioms like She brought down the price and in nonidiomatic, or free, combinations like She brought down the bed and She brought the bed down.
    So, a particle can be a preposition, an adjective, or a verb. And I believe that the OP's 'with' is a preposition, be it a particle or not.

    Having said all that, I stand corrected.
    Well, if there's no higher clause, how can there be a lower clause? Lower stands in opposition to higher. If there is no higher, then there is no lower. Movement from higher to lower is one of the key elements involved in raising.

    I also question whether "staying on its tail" is subordinate to "with." Subordination implies that one element (the -ing clause) depends on another (the preposition), forming a constituent in sentence structure. A subordinate clause is also known as a dependent clause.
    I'm afraid I was wrong in analyzing 'with' itself as being something higher than "me staying on its tail". I now think that it's not 'with' itself that's something higher than "me staying on its tail", but it's the main clause that's higher.

    We set off again, [the Rover going precariously slowly in very low gear up hills], [with me staying on its tail in case it petered out altogether].

    Both bracketed portions are supplements to the main clause We set off again. The former bracketed portion clearly is a non-finite clause, but it's less than unimpeachable to argue that the same is the case with the latter, primarily because of the existence of 'with', which as argued above must have some syntactic role. And that syntactic role is making a supplementary connection between We set off again and me staying on its tail.

    Now, we can say that there is a higher clause, can we not?
     
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