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In a traditional analysis, absolute phrases don't have subjects.

The sun overhead and the sky clear, Carl stepped into his future.

So by this definition what defines this specific example as an absolute. Also what is the difference between this example and an introductory phrase. Is it not serving the same function.
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It's not an absolute.

An absolute is a non-finite clause that contains a subject and functions as a supplementary adjunct.

As its name implies, an absolute clause is one that is subordinate in form but syntactically independent of the main clause. Those clauses without subjects are supplements, though they are not absolutes:

"His voice trembling with fear, he called out for help." [absolute clause]

"Born in Aberdeen, Kim had never been further south than Edinburgh." [no subject, so not an absolute cluase]


But your example doesn't have a verb, and is best analysed as the verbless analogue of something like "The sun being overhead and the sky being clear, Carl stepped into his future."


Predicative adjuncts (your 'introductory phrases') may be either noun, adjective or preposition phrases. They relate to a predicand which is usually the subject:

"A proud teetotaller, John stuck to water while the others drank champagne." [NP]

"In a bad temper, as usual, Ed walked on ahead of the main party." [PP]

"Unwilling to accept these terms, Max resigned." [AdjP]



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panda blue 483In a traditional analysis, absolute phrases don't have subjects.

I am not familiar with this idea. I was taught that absolute constructions do have subjects.

panda blue 483what defines this specific example as an absolute.

Who told you it was an absolute construction? It's not.

panda blue 483The sun overhead and the sky clear

Some grammarians would call these "small clauses" (joined by 'and').

A small clause is simply [NP XP]. The subject of a small clause is always a noun phrase. The predicate can be any kind of phrase.

CJ

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thanks

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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.The sun shining bright and the pale blue sky forming a backdrop of the Sacre Coeur

In a traditional analysis, absolute phrases don't have subjects.

The sun overhead and the sky clear, Carl stepped into his future.

Here, we have a compound absolute phrase. We have two coordinate phrases, each of which could serve as an absolute on its own, and the coordination as a whole serves the same function.

There is no clear relationship between this sun (or this sky) and either Carl or his future.

Instead of adjectives like "overhead" and "clear", your original example has nouns modified by participial phrases. Even if your framework requires you to regard those noun phrases as clauses with subjects, you still don't have a single subject, just as you would not have a single subject in a compound sentence. Phrases or clauses, there are two constituents acting in coordination.

It was an answer on another forum. But its a little confusing.

panda blue 483

It was an answer on another forum. But its a little confusing.

I agree that it's confusing. Apparently different people have different definitions of "absolute" as it occurs in English grammar. I have always known it as a participle clause with an explicit subject, e.g.,

The crew keeping the oil from spreading, containment of the spill was achieved.

CJ

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What is XP abbreviation?

The predicate can be any kind of phrase. Could you provide an example please.

panda blue 483

What is XP abbreviation?
What does the abbreviation XP stand for?

The predicate can be any kind of phrase. Could you provide an example please.

XP stands for such things as NP (noun phrase), AP (adjective phrase), and PP (preposition phrase).

The crust too dry, the pizza was inedible.
Here the XP is an AP (adjective phrase).
All the suitcases in the trunk (boot), we started off on our trip.
Here the XP is a PP (preposition phrase).
The room a mess, the revelers left.
Here the XP is a NP (noun phrase).

Note that in every case the first element is an NP, hence the structural formula [NP XP].

CJ

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