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Hi, Kis,

I've been able to find some additional context to identify what "it" actually refers to:

Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies. Does that sound creepy? That's exactly how a parasitic fungus species called the “zombie ant fungus,” inhabiting tropical forests around the world, attacks ant colonies. What happens is that when spores from the fungus land on an ant searching for food in the forest, it infects the ant, hijacks its central nervous system, and controls its brain with a special chemical. The victim doesn't act like an ant but like a zombie: it stops searching for food for its colony, and instead climbs up a tree and holds onto a leaf or a branch, where it is finally killed by the fungus. Soon, a stalk of spores grows out of the back of the ant's head, from which more spores can access more ants under the tree, a cruel but very effective way of expanding the fungus' territory.

"It" refers to "the fungus," as mentioned in the previous sentence. I don't think the referent can be easily recovered from the object to the preposition within the noun phrase spores from the fungus. What I mean is that the referent can be more clearly found in a preposition-free noun phrase like the one marked in bold above.

I'm not an expert, neither a native speaker, but 'it' may be referring to the action of landing.

I think that, if the action of fungus spores landing on an ant were the referent, "this" would have been used rather than "it."

I've been able to find some additional context to identify what "it" actually refers to:

Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies. Does that sound creepy? That's exactly how a parasitic fungus species called the “zombie ant fungus,” inhabiting tropical forests around the world, attacks ant colonies. What happens is that when spores from the fungus land on an ant searching for food in the forest, it infects the ant, hijacks its central nervous system, and controls its brain with a special chemical. The victim doesn't act like an ant but like a zombie: it stops searching for food for its colony, and instead climbs up a tree and holds onto a leaf or a branch, where it is finally killed by the fungus. Soon, a stalk of spores grows out of the back of the ant's head, from which more spores can access more ants under the tree, a cruel but very effective way of expanding the fungus' territory.



Hi, Gustavo, while I was searching following, I found this post;

"Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior<,> turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies." - the first sentence in the paragraph above.

I understand the construction - 'imagine + ing' means 'picture + gerund'. Since I think the three -ings above underlined are in a parallel structure, I don't understand why the author didn't write "Imagine something secretly entering your body<,> controlling your behavior <and> turning you ~ " (I mean this should read not 'A and B, C' but 'A, B, and C').

Would appreciate your explanation.

@deepcosmos posted:

Hi, Gustavo, while I was searching following, I found this post;

"Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior<,> turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies." - the first sentence in the paragraph above.

I understand the construction - 'imagine + ing' means 'picture + gerund'. Since I think the three -ings above underlined are in a parallel structure, I don't understand why the author didn't write "Imagine something secretly entering your body<,> controlling your behavior <and> turning you ~ " (I mean this should read not 'A and B, C' but 'A, B, and C').

Would appreciate your explanation.

Try restoring the -ing part into an independent sentence:

Something secretly enters your body and controls your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

The participial construction headed by "turning" is an adverbial, and it indicates the consequence of the event referred to by the verbs in italics. No "and" is necessary to link the "turning" phrase to the preceding predicate headed by the italic verbs.

The next step is to combine "something secretly enters your body and controls your behavior, turning ..." with "imagine."

Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Recall that the "turning" phrase is an adverbial to the predicate headed by "entering ..." No "and" is necessary even after the clause "something secretly entering your body ..." is merged with "imagine."

Last edited by raymondaliasapollyon

Try restoring the -ing part into an independent sentence:

Something secretly enters your body and controls your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

The participial construction headed by "turning" is an adverbial, and it indicates the consequence of the event referred to by the verbs in italics. No "and" is necessary to link the "turning" phrase to the preceding predicate headed by the italic verbs.

The next step is to combine "something secretly enters your body and controls your behavior, turning ..." with "imagine."

Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Recall that the "turning" phrase is an adverbial to the predicate headed by "entering ..." No "and" is necessary even after the clause "something secretly entering your body ..." is merged with "imagine."

Hi, Ray, thanks for your comment. Since the meaning of 'imagine' in the context above is 'picture in mind', I assume all three '-ing's above would be gerunds. If so, in my opinion, the last 'turning phrase' would not easy to be considered as 'an adverbial one'. Thus, I'm still curious about the usage of the comma. Let's wait till Gustavo answers.

Last edited by deepcosmos
@deepcosmos posted:

Since the meaning of 'imagine' in the context above is 'picture in mind', I assume all three '-ing's above would be gerunds. If so, in my opinion, the last 'turning phrase' would not easy to be considered as 'an adverbial one'. Thus, I'm still curious about the usage of the comma. Let's wait till Gustavo answers.

Deepcosmos, Raymond has given you a good answer. Please note that, in traditional grammar, all those V-ing forms would be present participles rather than gerunds.

@deepcosmos posted:

"Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior<,> turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies." - the first sentence in the paragraph above.

We could reinforce the consequential meaning of the third V-ing form by using "thus":

- Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, thus turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Deepcosmos, Raymond has given you a good answer. Please note that, in traditional grammar, all those V-ing forms would be present participles rather than gerunds.

Hi, Gustavo, would you please review my reference below?;

1) imagine + SB + verb-ing

"I imagine him working late in the evening."

This describes the image I have in my head. It's similar to 'I picture him...' or 'I visualise him...'

2) imagine + SB + to verb

"I imagine him to work late in the evening."

This describes a supposition or a belief. It's similar to 'I think he's the kind of person who...'

https://learnenglish.britishco...r-by-to-infinitive-1

Last edited by deepcosmos
@deepcosmos posted:

Hi, Gustavo, would you please review my reference below?;

1) imagine + SB + verb-ing

"I imagine him working late in the evening."

This describes the image I have in my head. It's similar to 'I picture him...' or 'I visualise him...'

2) imagine + SB + to verb

"I imagine him to work late in the evening."

This describes a supposition or a belief. It's similar to 'I think he's the kind of person who...'

https://learnenglish.britishco...r-by-to-infinitive-1

Maybe we can consider a few questions:

1. Do you agree that the "turning" phrase of the following sentence is an adverbial in function, and that there's no need to insert "and"?

Something enters your body and controls your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

2. In the following sentence, do you agree "maliciously" is also an adverbial?

Something enters your body and controls your behavior maliciously.

3. Do you agree that, if the above sentence is to merge with "imagine," it is okay to retain the adverbial "maliciously" without adding "and"?

Imagine something entering your body and controlling your behavior maliciously.

4.  If your answers to the above questions are affirmative, it follows that the following is also okay.

Imagine something entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Last edited by raymondaliasapollyon
@deepcosmos posted:

Hi, Gustavo, would you please review my reference below?;

1) imagine + SB + verb-ing

"I imagine him working late in the evening."

This describes the image I have in my head. It's similar to 'I picture him...' or 'I visualise him...'

2) imagine + SB + to verb

"I imagine him to work late in the evening."

This describes a supposition or a belief. It's similar to 'I think he's the kind of person who...'

https://learnenglish.britishco...r-by-to-infinitive-1

Sentence (2) does not work. I think the infinitive only works with "be":

3) I imagine him to be a hard worker.

@deepcosmos posted:

"Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior<,> turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies." - the first sentence in the paragraph above.

I understand the construction - 'imagine + ing' means 'picture + gerund'. Since I think the three -ings above underlined are in a parallel structure, I don't understand why the author didn't write "Imagine something secretly entering your body<,> controlling your behavior <and> turning you ~ " (I mean this should read not 'A and B, C' but 'A, B, and C').

@deepcosmos posted:

Since the meaning of 'imagine' in the context above is 'picture in mind', I assume all three '-ing's above would be gerunds. If so, in my opinion, the last 'turning phrase' would not easy to be considered as 'an adverbial one'.

Hi, Deepcosmos—You have become fixated on the verb "imagine," but understanding the structure of the part of the sentence you are asking about does not require reference to the verb "imagine." Consider this:

  • Think about something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.
  • You wouldn't like something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

In those sentences, the same structure now appears after the preposition "about" and the verb "like," respectively. What you are seeing here is the ACC-ing construction.

It is a nonfinite clause whose subject is "something" and whose two coordinate nonfinite verb phrases are "secretly entering your body" and  "controlling your behavior."

The -ing phrase "turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies" is an adverbial participle phrase that is embedded in the conjunct verb phrase of the ACC-ing construction.

In Ray's elegant, grammatically air-tight demonstration of the adverbial status of the "turning"-phrase above, he illustrates how to parse it by converting the ACC-ing construction, in which that phrase is embedded, into a finite clause.

I have just diagrammed the sentence in Reed–Kellogg fashion. Although this diagram doesn't have the precision of a formal syntax tree, it is also far less debateable. I don't think syntacticians have decided once and for all how the ACC-ing construction is to be treed! My point in giving this diagram is to show how the one -ing phrase is embededded within another.

zombies

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  • zombies

You have become fixated on the verb "imagine," but understanding the structure of the part of the sentence you are asking about does not require reference to the verb "imagine." Consider this:

  • Think about something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.
  • You wouldn't like something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

In those sentences, the same structure now appears after the preposition "about" and the verb "like," respectively. What you are seeing here is the ACC-ing construction.

It is a nonfinite clause whose subject is "something" and whose two coordinate nonfinite verb phrases are "secretly entering your body" and  "controlling your behavior."

The -ing phrase "turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies" is an adverbial participle phrase that is embedded in the conjunct verb phrase of the ACC-ing construction.

In Ray's elegant, grammatically air-tight demonstration of the adverbial status of the "turning"-phrase above, he illustrates how to parse it by converting the ACC-ing construction, in which that phrase is embedded, into a finite clause.

Hi, David, really appreciate your detailed explanations with the diagram. Only now do I remember this 'ACC-ing construction' is the second case since you've introduced me it. You're right I was engaged indeed in the verb - 'imagine' and had strong question - how the participle 'turning' phrase could virtually modify the two gerunds phrase led by 'entering' and 'controlling.

With my sincere respects to the G/Exchange.

Raymond has given you a good answer. Please note that, in traditional grammar, all those V-ing forms would be present participles rather than gerunds.

We could reinforce the consequential meaning of the third V-ing form by using "thus":

- Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, thus turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Maybe we can consider a few questions:

1. Do you agree that the "turning" phrase of the following sentence is an adverbial in function, and that there's no need to insert "and"?

Something enters your body and controls your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

2. 3. . . .

4.  If your answers to the above questions are affirmative, it follows that the following is also okay.

Imagine something entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies.

Hi, Gustavo and Ray, really appreciate your kind explanations, which has been understood a bit late, since I was engaged too much in the verb - 'imagine'.

Last edited by deepcosmos

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