Here is the second of three questions put to Betty Azar by a teacher of ESL. Betty responded briefly, then referred each question to the Grammar Exchange team for a more detailed answer. That answer will be posted tomorrow.

2) Can adverb clauses with "although" be reduced? Take for example, "The student decided to drop the class although he needed the credits."

I've found one textbook that says this can be reduced to "Although needing these credits, the student decided to cut class." However, "Despite needing these credits,..." seems to sound better.

Betty Azar replies:

(2) Use of "although" in reduced phrases is possible but corpus studies would show that it is not a frequent construction. Other ways of saying the same thing (as in your sentence with "despite") are preferred. That's what corpus studies tell us -- that even though a structure is possible, native speakers have lots of idiomatic preferences for which one "sounds" best.

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As mentioned by Betty Azar, corpus studies reveal that this construction is not frequent in English. The preferred form is with a full clause, or, if the verb is reduced to an -ing form, the expressions despite or in spite of. On the other hand, both Quirk et al.* and the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston and Pullum**state that although may be used with a present participle. Huddleston and Pullum* provide this example:

Although claiming to have a Ph.D., he didn't in fact have any degree at all (p. 262)

Huddleston and Pullum qualify this statement, however, saying

"Although more often occurs with a finite complement (as in although he claimed to have a Ph.D.)." (p. 1262)

Quirk et al.** make no such statement, simply including although in the list of subordinators that take -ing clauses (Section 14.19, p 1005)

A Google search turns up a significant number of such examples. The most frequent participle I found is suffering (from):

Although suffering from a persistent cough, and in no condition to undergo surgery, I was strongly urged by the specialist to undergo diagnostic surgery

The parents, although suffering from hypothermia, recovered within several hours.

There were 2,280 instances of the phrase "although suffering from."

Less frequent phrases include

Although believing that they received good support from nursing and medical colleagues, they felt that their level of rapport with NHS hospital management was poor. (205)

Although arriving alone in Israel two years ago on the Machon program, within a few months, Ruth will be once again surrounded by a proper extended family.

Although wanting to play and very friendly, he isn't quite sure how to interact
with the other ferrets and worries that they will play too rough

Although learning fast and reaching grades for piano and violin, he stopped
formally studying classical instruments around the age of 13.

The fact remains that this construction is not very common in English. Much more often we find a full clause or the expressions despite or in spite of + -ing.

Marilyn Martin

*The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002)

**A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985)

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