Reply to "The difference between absolute phrase and participle clause?"

Hi, Quangco123,

1. They have two friends, both of them killed in an accident.

2. They have two friends, both of whom killed in an accident.

3. They have two friends, both of whom have been killed in an accident.

None of your sentences are correct, but (1) and (2) are worse than (3). None of them are correct because "have" is in the present tense and, if the two friends got killed in an accident, then "have" no longer makes sense.

Additionally, you need "were" or "got" before "killed" to indicate that the two friends died (that's why (1) and (2) are even more ungrammatical than (3)).

Absolute clauses or constructions consist of a subject and a predicate lacking a finite or tensed verb. This rules out (3), which actually contains a relative clause. I'm going to change it a little bit:

(3a) They had two friends, both of whom were killed in an accident. (were killed is a tensed verb, and whom is a relative pronoun, so "both of whom were killed in an accident" is a relative clause).

This is an absolute clause:

- Both of his friends having been killed in an accident, he suddenly felt he was all alone in the world. ("Both of his friends having been killed in an accident" is an absolute clause consisting of a subject, both of his friends, and a nonfinite predicate).

This is a participial clause (notice it refers to the subject of the main clause):

Having lost both of his friends in an accident, he suddenly felt he was all alone in the world. ("he" lost both of his friends in an accident.)

 

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