Past participle


1. Heard in the next room, her voice is like that of a boy.

2. Having been heard in the next room, her voice is like that one of a boy

3. Hearing in the next room, her voice is like the sound of a boy.

4. Hearing in the next room, her voice is like the one of a boy.

Which one is correct? 

I assume A is correct. It can be revised as:

Her voice is heard in the next room. It is like the voice of a boy. 

Would you mind telling me whether I am right or wrong?





Original Post

Hi, Novice,

For a participle (present or past) in a subordinate clause not to dangle, it needs to refer to the subject of the main clause  (in this case, "her voice"). That leaves (3) and (4) out, because "hearing" can never have "her voice" as subject. The present participle could be used in a sentence like the following:

(5) Hearing her voice in the next room, I found it sounded like that of a boy. (I heard her voice in the next room and I found it to be similar to that of a boy.)

(2) is not correct because the perfect form makes no sense. The perfect participle can only be used when it refers to a previous situation:

(6) Having been heard in the next room for years, her voice is now only a distant memory. (It was heard before, but it no longer is.)

That makes (1) the only grammatical sentence, as I see it. However, I find it to be rather strange. I think this has to do with the preposition "in" (I would have used "from"). My understanding is that, in that position, "in"-adverbials will sound as referring to the place where the speaker is located, and "from"-adverbials will sound as referring to the place where the hearer is located. Compare:

(7) I could hear her voice in the next room. (Though ambiguous, this sentence will more likely be interpreted as implying: She was in the next room.)

(8) I could hear her voice from the next room. (was in the next room.)

The participial clause in (1) would sound more natural to me if "from" were used, for the reason mentioned above. I also prefer "sound like" over "be like":

(9) Heard from the next room, her voice sounds like that of a boy.

Gustavo, I agree with everything you say here.  I particularly appreciate your explanation of why "from" works better than "in".

Novice, you wrote "I assume A is correct".  I assume that you meant that you assume that (1) is correct.  Your indices are all numbers, so there is no (A).  I do appreciate your using indices, though, something that was sorely missing in

How to ask for help and thank somebody politely

Long lists like that are difficult to address without them.  Is there any chance you could edit that post to add index numbers or letters?



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