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Hi everyone,

I have some questions about participial phrases and their functions.

Please take a look at an incorrect sentence below.

Sentence 1 : This building has 100 fully furnished offices, each has its own private meeting rooms.

I understand that Sentence 1 is incorrect and that a number of amendments can be done to make it grammatically correct. One way is to simply add a conjunction "and" to the sentence (See Sentence 2).


Sentence 2 : This building has 100 fully furnished offices, and each has its own private meeting rooms.

However, Sentence 3 seems to work just fine, too.

Sentence 3 : This building has 100 fully furnished offices, each having its own private meeting rooms. 

Sentence 3 is written using a participial phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms."


My question is

1) Do sentence 3 and sentence 2 have the same meaning? Can we simply convert sentences with ", and" into sentences containing a participial phrase?

2) What is the function of the phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms" in Sentence 3?


Thank you very much for your help


Kenny

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KennyLu1) Do sentence 3 and sentence 2 have the same meaning?

Yes.

KennyLu Can we simply convert sentences with ", and" into sentences containing a participial phrase?

Obviously the overall structure of the original sentence has to be suitable. If the structure is suitable then this conversion may be possible, but no doubt there are examples where it does not create good or natural English, or seems to change the meaning (for example, incorrectly suggesting that consecutive actions are concurrent).

KennyLu2) What is the function of the phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms" in Sentence 3?

I don't really know what kind of answer you are seeking. If you understand what the sentence means, which I gather you do, then you understand the phrase's "function" in that sense. Sentence 3 is a way of writing "This building has 100 fully furnished offices. Each has its own private meeting rooms." as one sentence.

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KennyLu1) Do sentence 3 and sentence 2 have the same meaning?

They have the same meaning but a different style.

KennyLuCan we simply convert sentences with ", and" into sentences containing a participial phrase?

Not as a general rule. For example, the following transformation does not work well stylistically.

We know the climate change is real, and we need fact-based discussions about it.
We know the climate change is real, needing fact-based discussions about it.

KennyLu2) What is the function of the phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms" in Sentence 3?

It's a modifier of "offices".

CJ

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Comments  

Hi GPY,

Thank you very much for your explanation. I would like to raise some more questions touching the second and third answers that you wrote. I understand that it is not possible to convert all sentences that have ", and" into sentences with a participial phrase since there are always exceptions in a language. You mentioned that incorrect conversion might lead one to conveying wrong ideas, for example, suggesting concurrency of actions when in fact consecutive actions are what we meant.


Second Answer:

1) Could you please show me some examples of incorrectly converted sentences so that I can better visualize under which cases these two types of sentence structures differ in meaning?


2) I suppose it is also true that not all sentences of this type (participial phrase) can be rewritten back to ones with ", and". As I still don't quite understand this particular sentence structure, could you please also give me a few example sentences that are written with a participial phrase but do not have the same meaning as ones written with ", and"? I have trouble telling when a sentence with a participial phrase is equivalent to a sentence written with ", and" (like Sentence 2 and Sentence 3 in my original post).


Third Answer:

Sentence 3 is a way of writing "This building has 100 fully furnished offices. Each has its own private meeting rooms." as one sentence.

3) Does that mean whenever I have two sentences that I would like to combine, I can either insert conjunction in between the two sentences and combine them or convert one sentence into a participial phrase and combine the two and still have the same meaning? Please refer to the following four sentences: Sentence A, B, C, and D. I'm not sure if Sentence C and D have the same meaning and whether the only difference between them is just a different writing style.


Sentence A : I woke up at seven in the morning.
Sentence B : I felt great.
Sentence C : I woke up at seven in the morning and I felt great.
Sentence D : I woke up at seven in the morning, feeling great.

I hope that you understand my questions Emotion: smile

Thank you very much


Kenny

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Hi CalifJim,

Thank you very much for your explanation. There are still two more questions that I would like to raise here.


1) Could you please show me the difference between the two example sentences that you gave? What is the difference in meaning between these sentences?

We know the climate change is real, and we need fact-based discussions about it.
We know the climate change is real, needing fact-based discussions about it.

2) Is the participial phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms" modifying the object "100 fully furnished offices" in the main clause?


Thank you very much


Kenny

KennyLu1) Could you please show me some examples of incorrectly converted sentences so that I can better visualize under which cases these two types of sentence structures differ in meaning?

CalifJim provided one example that does not work well. Another is:

a) I switched on the radio[,] and I heard the news of the earthquake.
b) I switched on the radio, hearing the news of the earthquake.

(b) is awkward or hard to understand, or may seem to be saying that hearing the news was the reason you switched on the radio, which is the opposite sequence of events to (a).

KennyLu2) I suppose it is also true that not all sentences of this type (participial phrase) can be rewritten back to ones with ", and". As I still don't quite understand this particular sentence structure, could you please also give me a few example sentences that are written with a participial phrase but do not have the same meaning as ones written with ", and"?

E.g.:

a) I'm always busy, being a single parent.
b) I'm always busy, and I am a single parent.

a) I was sorry to see her leave, loving her as I do.
b) I was sorry to see her leave, and I love her as I do.

The b's lose the clarity that one thing causes the other, and can create the impression of a non-sequitur.

KennyLuSentence A : I woke up at seven in the morning.
Sentence B : I felt great.
Sentence C : I woke up at seven in the morning and I felt great.
Sentence D : I woke up at seven in the morning, feeling great.

Yes, in this case (C) and (D) both work, and they mean near enough the same.

KennyLuWhat is the difference in meaning between these sentences?
We know the climate change is real, and we need fact-based discussions about it.
We know the climate change is real, needing fact-based discussions about it.

My point was that the second sentence is so awkward that no one would write it. It's awkward because it's hard to understand what it means, or if it means anything.

KennyLu2) Is the participial phrase "each having its own private meeting rooms" modifying the object "100 fully furnished offices" in the main clause?

Yes, or just "offices", as I said. Technically, "100 fully furnished" also modifies "offices". "offices" is the head of the whole phrase.

CJ

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I found this online some time ago and added my own comments to it. I don't even know which website it was on, but it may help.

There are probably more ways to use participle clauses than are mentioned below, but the four given here are the most usual.


Participle clauses give information about condition, reason, result or time.

1. Condition (in place of an if-condition):

Looked after carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.
Compare: If you look after it carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.

2. Reason (in place of words like so or therefore):

Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I decided to arrange a meeting.
Compare: I wanted to speak to him about the contract, so I decided to arrange a meeting.

3. Result (in place of words like because):

I had no time to read my book, having spent so long doing my homework.
Compare: I had no time to read my book because I had spent so long doing my homework.

4. Time (in place of words like when, while, or as soon as):

Sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realized that I had left the oven on at home.
Compare: While I was sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realized that I had left the oven on at home.

CJ

Hi GPY,

Thank you very much for your reply. As I'm still not too sure of this grammar rule, I'll do some more research and try to understand it. Should I have more questions, I'll post them up here again. Thank you very much for your help Emotion: smile


Just one last thing I have thought about today and would like to confirm with you.


From the summary given by CalifJim, we know that a participle phrase gives information about condition, reason, result, or time. Also, I think a sentence of this type comes from two originally separated sentences, for example, sentences 1 and 2. And I know that we can write these two sentences as one by either inserting conjunctions in between the two or change one of the sentences into a participle phrase. However, we need to pay particular attention to the differences between these two resulting sentences. One tends to indicate the sequence of actions (, and), while the other can also take on the simultaneous sense.


I understand that a participle phrase is an adjective and modifies a noun. I also know how to convert a sentence into a participle phrase and to avoid grammatical mistakes such as misplaced and dangling modifiers. However, what I have a hard time understanding is the "dynamics" sentences with a participle phrase have and the "exact" meanings these sentences give.


To me, they sometimes seem to convey messages of "reasons", whereas they give a sense of "while" in other cases. As for me, sentences in these two categories are sometimes very hard to accurately categorize. I may think of one as telling me the "reasons", but in fact, it is telling me "while" (the time). This is a big problem for me as I really would like to know the "exact" meanings of the sentences...


Besides, they sometimes suggest consecutive actions, while other times they indicate simultaneous actions. For example, Sentence 3 gives me a sense of consecutive actions rather than simultaneous ones because logically the bus has to have hit the wall first before flipping over. However, I'm not sure if this is a correct understanding. Next, for sentence 4, although I "feel" the two actions can either be simultaneous or consecutive (to me there is ambiguity), deep down my mind I understand that only one is correct not both. (But I am not sure which one)

This the other problem that I am having. I am not able to tell if the two actions indicated in these kinds of sentences are simultaneous or consecutive.

Sentence 1 : The bus crashed into the wall.
Sentence 2 : The bus flipped over.
Sentnece 3 : Crashed into the wall, the bus flipped over.
Sentence 4 : "Catch" he shouted, tossing his bag to me.

Furthermore, these types of sentences also resemble sentences with a reduced subordinate clause except that they do not have conjunctions in the first place. It is easy to tell if a sentence containing a reduced subordinate clause expresses the idea of "time", or "reason", etc, as the subordinate conjunctions are often retained. Take sentence 5 for example. It is clear that Mary had had lunch before she went back to her office.

Sentence  5 : After having lunch with her friends, Mary went back to her office.

Please forgive my inability to understand this grammar structure quickly. It's just that I still cannot seem to establish the "feel" for this structure.


Thank you very much for your time and help. I appreciate it a lot.


Kenny

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