49. Participle I. Absolute participial construction




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49. Participle I. Absolute participial construction

Participle I (present participle) is fully homonymous with the gerund: it is also an 'ing-forrn' (cf.:writing, being written, having written, having been written). It denotes processual quality, combining verbal features with features of the adjective and the adverb. The verb-type combinability of participle I is shown in its combinations with nouns denoting the subject and the object of the action, e.g.: her entering the room, with modifying adverbs and with auxiliary verbs in the analytical forms of the verb; the adjective-type combinability of participlc I is manifested in its combinations with modified nouns and modifying adverbs of degree, e.g.: an extremely maddening presence; the adverb-type combinability of the participle is revealed in its combinations with modified verbs, e.g.: to speak stuttering at every word. In its free use, participle I can function as a predicative, e.g.: Her presence is extremely maddening to me; as an attribute, e.g.: The fence surrounding the garden was newly painted; and as an adverbial modifier, e.g.: While waiting he whistled.

Participle I can form a detached semi-predicative construction, known as the absolute participial construction, which does not intersect in any of its components with the primary sentence part. Absolute constructions can be non- prepositional or propositional. The latter are introduced by the prepositions with or without, e.g.: I won't speak with him staring at me like that.

The most common meaning of non-prepositional absolute construction is description of the appearance, behaviour or inner state of the person denoted by the subject of the sentence, e.g.: She got up, the clothes folding over her arm.

Another meaning of the absolute construction is to express attending circumstances, e.g.: The weather being fine, we decided to take a walk;

Absolute constructions with participles are rare in modern English and can be found mostly in literary style.

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