I walked home and thought about what I had done.

This sentence has a compound predicate--the second verb phrase can be turned into an ing clause:

I walked home, thinking about what I had done.

What about if we have compound infinitives? Can we change the second into an ing clause?

The earthquake caused people to flee their homes and to leave their possessions behind.

The earthquake caused people to flee their homes, leaving their possessions behind.

Read aloud, it sounds fine, but I think that's because the ing clause sounds as though it were a result ing clause (shortened from 'which leaves').
Senior Member2,850
Hi,

Here are a few comments.

I walked home and thought about what I had done.

Note that this can also be interpreted to mean that the one activity followed the other.

Compare 'I walked home and cooked dinner'.

This sentence has a compound predicate--the second verb phrase can be turned into an ing clause:

I walked home, thinking about what I had done.

What about if we have compound infinitives? Can we change the second into an ing clause?

The earthquake caused people to flee their homes and to leave their possessions behind.

This gives equal weight, equal importance, to the two actions ('flee' and 'leave').

The earthquake caused people to flee their homes, leaving their possessions behind. Yes, you can say this. But it gives more weight, more importance, to the fact they fled.

Read aloud, it sounds fine, but I think that's because the ing clause sounds as though it were a result ing clause (shortened from 'which leaves'). 'Leaving their possessions behind' is adverbial.

I can't think of a clause here that would start with 'which leaves . . . '

Best wishes, Clive
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Thanks, Clive

I asked because I can think of various sentences where the second infinitive seems unable to change into an ing clause:

I bought some clothes to wear at the party and to wear for work.

I bought some clothes to wear at the party, wearing for work.

Or

The strong alcoholic beverage caused me to vomit and to pass out.



The strong alcoholic beverage caused me to vomit, passing out.

Obviously the above do not work, but I cannot explain why. What makes these not work, but the above post's example work?
Dear friends,

indeed, transforming a to-infinitive clause into an -ing clause shifts the emphasis from it and renders it as complementary, as something of secondary nature compared to the information in the infinitive clause. The case is somewhat complicated due to the fact that the participle clause refers not to the grammatical subject of the matrix clause (the earthquake), but to the word people, which is the notional subject of an -ing clause (so the attachment rule does not apply here). There is a slight ambiguity in the meaning of the resulting sentence: the way it is written, it can be understood that the earthquake left their (=people's) possessions behind, and not the people did that (in which case the attachment rule would apply). This is, however, a marginal interpretation, and the sentence on the whole sounds acceptable.

I tend to disagree with the which leaves interpretation, too.

Respectfully, Gleb Chebrikoff
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English 1b3,
English 1b3I bought some clothes to wear at the party and to wear for work.

I bought some clothes to wear at the party, wearing for work.
The function of the infinitive clauses is to express purpose <purpose adverbials>. A participle clause cannot fit here, for it lacks the power to show purpose.
English 1b3The strong alcoholic beverage caused me to vomit and to pass out.



The strong alcoholic beverage caused me to vomit, passing out.
It is clear that the action of vomiting precedes that of passing out, which infinitives show. Substituting the infinitive with the participle would render the sentence senseless.

Respectfully, Gleb Chebrikoff
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Thanks a lot.

Here is one more example:

1a) I aim to build my skills, focusing on three key areas.

1) Would you say the ing clause is adverbial modifying the infinitive phrase 'to build my skills', stating in what manner I'll build my skills?

2) Would you say the above sentence could be re-written thus, with the same meaning?

1b) I aim to build my skills and to focus on three key areas.
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