+0
Hello

We often come across a sentence as below.
(EX) She found a position teaching English at a high school.

I understand the meaning of the sentence. But I'm wondering how to parse the sentence. From the meaning, "teaching English" should be a phrase to backwardly modify "a position". But is it grammatical to put a gerundive modifier directly to a noun to be modified?

paco
1 2 3
Comments  
Hi Paco,

I'm not good at naming things, but is it not a participle functioning more as an adjective than as a gerund?

Clive
CliveI'm not good at naming things, but is it not a participle functioning more as an adjective than as a gerund?
Clive,

Thank you for the quick reply. I thought that possibility. But can "a position" teach English?

paco
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
I think the phrase teaching English at a high school is in apposition to position. The sentence could have been written:

She found a position -- teaching English at a high school.
or She found a position -- namely, teaching English at a high school.

The gerund teaching is not a modifier. It (with the rest of its phrase) is a substantive that points to the same thing as position. It is a different construction from They found the student crying, in which crying is a present participle which modifies student.

Hello RVW

Thank you for the answer. Your thought sounds someway more reasonable. But still I cannot feel confident. If "teaching English" is appositive to "a position", I think, "She found teaching English at a high school" should be idiomatic, but it is not the case. Furthermore, we cannot use along with "a position" any noun phrase other than --ing. For example, "She found a position instruction of English at a high school" sounds weird. So…

paco
paco2004,

I had doubts when I posted. There seems to be something more to this. I will think about it some more.

rvw
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
is it grammatical to put a gerundive modifier directly to a noun to be modified?
I would say yes. You could probably find more examples of the same structure. You may debate whether the following sentence follows the structure you have in mind (maybe it's not "gerundive" enough), but I think it is generally within the sphere of the sorts of things you are asking about.

The book contained only two paragraphs explaining the cause of the Civil War.

CJ
Hi guys,

But can "a position" teach English? Well, I have a teaching position. It's pretty adjectival there. Is a position teaching English really a completely different case?

Best wishes, Clive
Hello CJ

Thank you for the suggestion. I can rather easily explain the grammar of your sentence with a rule of WHIZ deletion (clause contraction): "The book contained only two paragraphs (which were) explaining the cause of the Civil War". But in the case of my sentence, we need a "queer WHIZ deletion" to explain its grammaticality. "She found a position (which involved) teaching English at a high school". So I have a feeling this sort of phrase, "a position/a job/work --ing", might be one of ungrammatical idiomatic constructs created by current English speakers.

paco
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more