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Reply to "be made "ing""

@deepcosmos posted:

We very often see the pattern - "be made ~ing" such in "The movie was made using  a lot of special effects.".

Which will be the correct analysis for this pattern in the followings?;

1) The movie was made when using  a lot of special effects. (a kind of adverbial clause with the conjunction - 'when' left out)
2) The movie was made of using  a lot of special effects. (the preposition 'of' has been left out, which shows the construction material)
3) The movie was made by means of using  a lot of special effects. (the phrase - 'by means of' has been left out)

Hi, Deepcosmos and Gustavo—I think it's important to note that the sentence "The movie was made using a lot of special effects" is in the passive voice, and that the sentence can be transformed to the active voice as follows:

  • They made the movie using a lot of special effects.

Even though it is possible to parse "using a lot of special effects" there as a postmodifier of "movie" ("the movie that used a lot of special effect"); however, we know that that parsing does not accord with the intended meaning.

The sensible way to parse "They made the movie using a lot of special effects" is with "using a lot of special effects" as an participial adverbial adjunct modifying "made the movie." Here is how I would paraphrase the sentence:

  • They used a lot of special effects in making the movie.

As for the passivized version ("The movie was made using a lot of special effect"), I parse "using a lot of special effects" as an participial adverbial adjunct modifying "was made."

As Gustavo says, the participial phrase answers the question "How did they make the movie." While we can posit a deleted preposition like "by," I don't think the syntax requires it.

Last edited by David, Moderator
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