Reply to "participle subject advice needed"

john121 posted:
Can you please tell me, i read something online which puzzled me

" Phrases that describe should be placed close to what they describe."

Can you expand on this, is there a manner in which descrpitive phrases should be laid out.

Hi, John121: That simply means that modifying phrases generally need to be placed right next to the word or phrase they modify. "Close to" and "next to" are vague, however. Generally, the modifying phrase will need to come either before or after the word or phrase it modifies.

Let's take a simple sentence like "The fat cat sat on the mat under the hot sun." That sentence makes sense and is grammatical. In the subject phrase, "the fat cat," "fat" modifies "cat," and we can't really say "the cat fat" (with the same meaning). Placement matters.

And we certainly can't say "The cat sat on the mat under the hot sun fat" and have "fat" modify cat. Imagine if we tried to say "The cat sat fat hot under the sun on the mat." Most of the meaning in the original is gone, and the sentence is ungrammatical. Again, placement is important.

I trust you can see how this topic applies to the first part of your thread. We revised the examples you quoted in such a way that the noun phrase constituting the implied subject of the introductory participial phrases immediately followed those participial phrases.

Last edited by David, Moderator