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Hi teachers,

The situation is that a father is trying to persuade his son, who has run away from home, coming back home. And his wife says, "We don't want to drag him back crying and kicking".

I'd like to know why "cry + ing" and "kick + ing" was phrased? Would the sentence have the meaning of "We don't want to drag him back while he's crying and kicking"?

I'd appreciate if you could correct the blue sentences above. I just want to know where I've made mistakes. Thank you.

Regards,

TN
Comments  
tinanam0102The situation is that a father is trying to persuade his son, who has run away from home, coming to come back home. And his wife says, "We don't want to drag him back crying and kicking". (This is idiomatic.)

I'd like to know why "cry + ing" and "kick + ing" was phrased? Would the sentence have the meaning of "We don't want to drag him back while he's crying and kicking"? Yes. I take the present participles as adjectival, modifying "him." There are probably other ways to analyze it. I'd definitely say they don't modify the verb "want" or the infinitive "to drag."

Dear Avangi,

Thank you for correcting the sentences.

In you response, you say, " I take the present participles as adjectival, modifying "him." Is that also what you meant adjectival? If the sentence is reworded, would it be equvalent to "I take the present participles as adjectival which modifies "him.""

And in your original sentence, could the comma, be left out?

Would you also correct the blue sentences above? Thank you.

Regards,

TN

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Geez, you're really making me earn my money!
We usually think of the finite verb as the workhorse of the clause, and the noun as the actor. Many of the other words just add color (not to mention prepositions and conjunctions - please).
The old house slowly burned to the ground. "Slowly" is an adverb, because it modifies the action word, the verb, "burned." "Old" is an adjective, because it modifies the word for the actor, the noun, "house." Verb, noun, adverb, and adjective are "parts of speech." Their names are nouns because they're things. (Some people prefer the word "qualifies" for what these color words do (instead of "modifies"). Other people like the word "determines.")

Sometimes we take action words (verbs) like "cry" and "kick" and turn them into color words, or modifiers. We then call them "non-finite verbs," or "verbals." We use the infinitve "to kick," the past participle "kicked" and the present participle "kicking." Then we like to argue about whether they modify the verb or the noun. That is, do they act like adverbs or like adjectives. If the verbal acts like an adverb, describing or adding color to the action, we give it a second name and say it's adverbial, or that it acts adverbially. (Surely you can see that "adverbial" is an adjective, and "adverbially" is an adverb.) If the verbal acts like an adjective, describing or adding color to the actor, we say that it's adjectival, or that it acts adjectivally.

In you response, you say, " I take the present participles as adjectival, modifying "him." Is that also what you meant adjectival? Yes. If the sentence is reworded, would it be equvalent to "I take the present participles as adjectival which modifies "him."" Yes.

And in your original sentence, could the comma, be left out? No. Emotion: smile

Hi Avangi,

I hope you don't mind my stretching this topic a bit. I just have a few questions I was hoping you could answer for me. Thank you.

1. In the sentence, I take the present participles as adjectival, modifying "him.", you said the comma could not be taken out, but I'd like to know why?

2. My original sentence, "We don't want to drag him back home crying and kicking." Could a comma be placed before "crying and kicking"? Would the comma change the intended meaning of the sentence?

3. I did look up a grammar book, but my problem with the sentence with a comma is that I thought "crying and kicking" is seen as one action after the other action, "He was dragged back home."

3. What do you mean "You're really making me earn my money"?

Regards,

TN
tinanam0102 1. In the sentence, I take the present participles as adjectival, modifying "him.", you said the comma could not be taken out, but I'd like to know why?

The question is really, "What's my intention?" Do I want the "extra phrase" to define my basic statement, or do I want it to add optional information? With the comma, the phrase is "non-essential." Removing the phrase would not alter the meaning of what goes before it.
In some cases, the difference between "essential" and "non-essential" makes a radical difference in the meaning. In this case it does not. The comma simply leaves the emphasis on the participles being adjectival. What they modify is just frosting on the cake. It's not a question of right or wrong. It's a question of what I want to emphasize in the sentence.
If you remove the comma from the sentence, the implication is that "adjectival modifying him" would be fundamentally different from "adjectival modifying something else." It would give more importance to "modifying him" than I intend. I wouldn't really say you can't do it.

2. My original sentence, "We don't want to drag him back home crying and kicking." Could a comma be placed before "crying and kicking"? Would the comma change the intended meaning of the sentence?

In this case the situation is reversed (perhaps arguably). Without the comma, "crying and kicking" is essential. If you were to place a comma after "home," the main thrust of the sentence would be that you don't want to drag him home under any circumstances. (Of course, this may be the case.) Without the comma, perhaps you wouldn't mind dragging him home on a sled.

3. I did look up a grammar book, but my problem with the sentence with a comma is that I thought "crying and kicking" is seen as one action after the other action, "He was dragged back home."

The comma doesn't effect the time sequence, only the importance of the second phrase. The crying and kicking would occur simultaneously with the dragging. But I understand your point. Note that in this case, context tells us that this is not a subsequent action. The actors are different. (Perhaps that would be more obvious to a native speaker.) "To drag someone kicking and screaming" is an idiom, or at least a (sort of) fixed expression. It's understood that the kicking and screaming is done only by the person being dragged - not by the parents - not by everyone.
The parents do the dragging; the kid does the crying and kicking. With consecutive actions you'd need some sort of conjuction and some sort of adverb of time: "We started dragging him, and then he started screaming."

3. What do you mean "You're really making me earn my money"? You're making me work hard.

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Hi Avangi,

I'm sorry that I made you work hard. I'm getting there. Thank you for the thorough explanation.

Regards,

TN
I'm not complaining. It helps me too.Emotion: smile
Hi Aavngi,

Thank you and have a great day!

Regards,

TN
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