Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Here’s the original:

The veterinarian was caught off guard when, regaining consciousness, we were again attacked by the cat.

My rewrite of this sentence is either:

The veterinarian was caught off guard when we were again attacked by the cat regaining consciousness.

or else:

The veterinarian was caught off guard when, regaining consciousness, the cat attacked us.

Is either of these rewrites satisfactory?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by FumbleFingers, JSBձոգչ, Matt Эллен, MετάEd, tchrist Aug 29 '12 at 11:54

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
It is a confusing sentence. It's hard to answer your question without knowing, at least for starters, who regained consciousness, the cat, the veterinarian, or "us"? –  JAM Jul 15 '12 at 18:56
1  
If a cat attacks, shouldn't it already have regained consciousness? –  Frank Jul 15 '12 at 18:58
    
so you're saying the cat had lost consciousness, then regained consciousness, then attacked. The vet and "us" never lost consciousness in the first place -- correct? :) –  JAM Jul 15 '12 at 19:03
    
Yes,that is almost what i mean . –  Frank Jul 15 '12 at 19:07
1  
May be i should say "The veterinarian was caught off guard when the cat, having regained consciousness, attacked us" –  Frank Jul 15 '12 at 19:09
show 1 more comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Based on our exchange of comments, your third sentence is correct:

The veterinarian was caught off guard when, regaining consciousness, the cat attacked us.

Since you're trying to say that it is a second attack, I'd add "again":

The veterinarian was caught off guard when, regaining consciousness, the cat attacked us again.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Both rewrites retain the ambiguity of the first sentence, but I'd say the latter is better.It is unclear who regained consciousness. Assuming that it's the cat, here's an alternative:

After regaining consciousness, the cat caught the veterinarian off guard by attacking us again.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.