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Reply to "participial construction"

Hi, Apple,

Participial constructions can be used to refer to previous, simultaneous, or subsequent actions or states.

When simultaneous, as is the case with your sentences:

@apple posted:
  1. Jack stood there alone, looking surprised.
  2. Jack looked surprised, standing there alone.

we can have:

A) two actions (the main one will be the one we use the tensed verb for and the secondary one, the one in participle form):

3. Jack stared at her, wondering what to do next.

B) two states, or an action and a state (usually, we will keep the main verb for the action and reserve the participle for the state that provides background information). In your sentence, although "standing" describes a state of stillness, that is, a stationary position, it is in fact an action verb, while "looking" is a stative verb, so the rule I just came up with applies:

1. Jack stood there alone, looking surprised (with a look of surprise on his face).

We can also have a state verb as the main verb followed by an action verb, but without a comma — the action verb will account for the state, for example:

4. Jack looked ridiculous standing there alone.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator