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Beatrice, nine, sent a letter to the actor asking for piracy lessons to help lead a mutiny against the teachers.

What does the asking participle phrase act as? Why is participle phrase used instead of multiple clause?

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The statement makes perfect sense to me. What would you suggest in its place? –  Robusto Feb 4 '11 at 0:53
    
Yeah, I don't feel like I can even grasp the question enough to write an answer. What does it act as? It acts as a participle phrase. What kind of answer are you looking for there? –  chaos Feb 4 '11 at 1:08
    
act as a subject, object, etc. maybe I should use 'function as' or something else. –  lovespring Feb 4 '11 at 1:32
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It acts as a subordinate clause further explaining the action of the sentence (in which Beatrice is the subject, sent is the verb, the letter is the direct object and the actor is the indirect object). I don't understand how you're posing "participle phrase" and "multiple clause" as opposing alternatives; the participle phrase is one of the multiple clauses in the sentence.

The entire sentence is quite grammatically correct.

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I think a participle phrase is usually not considered a clause, because it can never have its own subject or finite verb. –  Cerberus Feb 4 '11 at 2:58
    
@Cerberus: I'd be interested in hearing more about that, but it's inconsistent with e.g. ling.upenn.edu/hist-corpora/annotation/…. –  chaos Feb 4 '11 at 3:07
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A phrase is different from a clause, at least in the traditional sense. –  kiamlaluno Feb 4 '11 at 12:44
    
Well, yeah, but they're not alternatives to each other, they're constructs at different levels of abstraction. In any event, my best analysis of that sentence is that the participle phrase in question is functioning as a subordinate clause in terms of its role in the sentence; if that's not how it's functioning, what is the correct answer to the question? –  chaos Feb 4 '11 at 15:58
    
Or, why not multiple sentences? you know, there are too many verbs. –  lovespring Feb 4 '11 at 18:18
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protected by RegDwigнt Nov 12 '12 at 15:11

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