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Hi everyone,
I'm doing a little bit of writing in my spare time and I'm trying to expand my repertoire of sentence types.
I'm having trouble with one particular part of speech, the participle phrase. I'm ok with it when it's before a main clause, but when it's after the main clause, i'm a little confused.
I think i get the main idea, but i'm just not sure if the same rules apply regardless of whether it's before or after the clause.

the following is ok, I'm pretty sure:

1 Being a cautious man by nature, he decided to hold back.

how about these? :

2 The knocking on the door was soft and discreet, bringing with it a distinct feeling of humility.

3 he, too, had flown the red flag flag, eagerly scolding the goings on of big business.

4 The images were vivid, transporting Kim into a fantasy world of violence and brutality.

5 he sank back into his chair, breathing heavily and feeling his heart rate shoot up.

i think no.4 might be wrong. not sure about the others.

i realise that i could just rewrite them and do without the participle phrase, but i want to improve my writing. sure, no.4 could be rewritten as:

the images were vivid, and kim was immediately transported into a fantasy world of...

thanks in advance, much appreciated Emotion: smile
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Comments  
Hi Welcome to the
English forum. I agree, # 4 appeared a bit
awkward to me as well, as it didn't quite have enough context to qualify the
sentence. As stand, these words didn't paint a picture that I could see. But
all the other are present participle phrases functioning as adverbial.
These "ing" form of the verbs are none-finite, and they only describe a
state or being, not the act in progress.
Hello, and welcome to EnglishForward.com

Sorry to be pedantic, but all of the examples you cite are actually participial clauses, not phrases, and a participial clause is not a part of speech - it's just a kind of non-finite clause. The good news is that the style of each sentence (including 4.) is absolutely fine - quite eloquent in fact - so no quibbles there at all. You mentioned the position of the participial clauses: in many cases, participial adjunct clauses like these are mobile and can be in front position as well as at the end of the matrix clause. In your examples, 1, 3 and 5. the participial clauses could certainly be fronted grammatically, but arguably with a slight reduction in style, whereas 2. and 4 would not be acceptable. Generally, I think you've grasped the use of participial adjunct clauses very well.

BillJ
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thank you very much for your speedy reply.

you've shed some light on the situation for me and it's interesting that you agree that #4 is a bit odd.

the last past of your answer interests me greatly. could i ask you to give me an example of a clause that describes the act in progress? i know it'll be nonsensical but it'll help me to distinguish...

thanks again
BillJ,
don't apologise for your pedantry, as that's exactly what i came to this site for! having the correct term, participle clauses, has helped me to search the web and find many more examples.

thanks again Emotion: smile
For some unkwown reasons, my "reply" tab disappeared fromthe webpage. So if my psot appeared to be messed up, I apologize.

When I made my comment about #4's being odd, I actually had this thought process:
What exactly was that vivid image? Is it a mental or physical one? Not clear!
Was "transporting" used as a figure of speech? To me, it carries a hint of physical movement.
I couldn't connect these words together to form a visualized picture without further context. As for the participle phrases (or clauses, as other may call), this is what this link says:

http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/clauses-11.html

ADJECTIVE CLAUSEPRESENT PARTICIPLE PHRASE

Sentences or clauses with ACTIVE verb forms can be shortened to modifying phrases.

Delete the pronoun and change the verb to its present participle form (-ing).

Congress, which consists of two houses, is on a break.

Congress, consisting of two houses, is on a break.

The stock market, which crashed to its lowest point of the year, worried us.

The stock market, crashing to its lowest point of the year, worried us.

Gas which costs over $4 a gallon can be seen in the Bay Area.

Gas costing over $4 a gallon can be seen in the Bay Area.


For your last question, I presume that you meant past progressive, is that correct?
<< could i ask you to give me an example of a clause that describes the act in progress?>>
How about:
As I was running out of my apartment from the fire next door I shouted "fire" and pounded the door of my roommate, John, who was still sleeping like a baby.
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dimsumexpressAs for the participle phrases (or clauses, as other may call), this is what this link says:
http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/clauses-11.html

ADJECTIVE CLAUSEPRESENT PARTICIPLE PHRASE
Sentences or clauses with ACTIVE verb forms can be shortened to modifying phrases. Delete the pronoun and change the verb to its present participle form (-ing).
Congress, which consists of two houses, is on a break.Congress, consisting of two houses, is on a break.
The stock market, which crashed to its lowest point of the year, worried us.The stock market, crashing to its lowest point of the year, worried us.
Gas which costs over $4 a gallon can be seen in the Bay Area.Gas costing over $4 a gallon can be seen in the Bay Area.
Instead of providing a link to a website that dispenses ill-informed, long out-of-date and thus misleading advice about English grammar, why don't you tell us all exactly why YOU consider that the adjunct expressions in the OP's post are phrases not clauses? I'd be interested to learn.

BillJ
BillJ,
Your comments are quite blunt and seemingly directed at me to infer that I purposely post what you have called " ill-informed" material. As you may have already noticed, I am not a born native, however, for the record, I have studied and worked as an tech porfessional in California for 30 years. Purhaps I may have been taught wrong, Or perhaps varing definition and usage of opposite shores. That said, I have learned that a phrase is not a complete sentence which may contain one or more of the following, but not a subject and finite verb.
Prepoistion
adverb
adjective
past and present participle

Wasn't the original posted question matching this criterian?

And byt the way, allow me to post another link. Please tell me if this is also out-dated.
I may have posted the last thread withour including this link.

http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/resources/complex-sentences.htm
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