Reply to "participle subject advice needed"

john121 posted:

One last thing, what do you think of parallel sentence structure. Is this a must, or a just a style of writing.

Hi, John: Parallelism is important, but how important it is depends upon the individual case. Since this is a completely different topic, if you'd like to discuss it, you should start a separate thread devoted to the topic. Thank you.

john121 posted:
I wrote about a man entranced by a  pile of diamonds:

"Dazzling, hypnotic, as the multicoloured waterfall caught the lights."

But i was told off, stating that it should be dazzling, hypnotising,

What do you think?

I don't have a problem with the coordination of "dazzling" and "hypnotic." Since both are adjectives, no exception to the principle of grammatical parallelism is involved. Again, the topic is worthy of a thread of its own.

Returning to the main theme of this thread, I'd like to share with you the free participial-clause adjuncts I found yesterday in a mere thirty pages of Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (1895), a classic which I am rereading:

1. "Admitting that he might be wrong, a frenzied declaration of the kind would turn him into a worm."

2. "Some wished to fight like duelists, believing it to be correct to stand erect and be, from their feet to their foreheads, a mark."

3. "The youth, forgetting his neat plan of getting killed, gazed spellbound."

4. "The tall soldier, having prepared his rifle, produced a red handkerchief of some kind."

5. "The lieutenant sprang forward bawling."

6. "Too, he felt a pity for the guns, standing, six good comrades, in a bold row."

7. "He went as near as he dared trying to overhear words."

8. "When he looked loweringly up, quivering at each sound, his eyes had the expression of those of a criminal who thinks his guilt and his punishment great, and knows that he can find no words."

9. "The creepers, catching against his legs, cried out harshly as their sprays were torn from the barks of trees."

10. "High in a treetop he stopped, and, poking his head cautiously from behind a branch, looked down with an air of trepidation."

11. "Pausing at one time to look about him he saw, out at some black water, a small animal pounce in and emerge directly with a gleaming fish."

12. "He walked on, going from obscurity into promises of a greater obscurity."

13. "Leaning upon this he retreated, step by step, with his face still toward the thing."

14. "The branches, pushing against him, threatened to throw him over upon it."

15. "At last he burst the bonds which had fastened him to the spot and fled, unheeding the underbrush."

I have italicized the participial-clause adjunct in each example. Again, all these examples appear in the course of just thirty pages of the novel. They illustrate the variety of positions in which they may be found: at the beginning of a clause, in the middle of a clause, at the end of a clause. In (8), the participial-clause adjunct is part of an introductory subordinate when-clause.

Example (1) is the only case in which the participial-clause adjunct may be said to dangle and could therefore be prescriptively criticized. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the examples, especially if you find yourself unable to grasp the implied subjects. For further context, or to grasp pronoun reference (e.g., [10] is talking about a squirrel), all of the examples may be Googled and seen with the surrounding text.

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