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.

In this sentence, is the past participle of ‘clasped’ in ‘with his hands clasped over his fat bottom’ to be changed to ‘clasping’?

He brought the umbrella swishing down through the air to point at Dudley — there was a flash of violet light, a sound like a firecracker, a sharp squeal, and the next second, Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig's tail poking through a hole in his trousers.

share|improve this question
    
Barrie's answer is correct so I don't have anything new to add, but I'm confused by the question. This is an excerpt from one of the Harry Potter books - what do you mean "is the past participle to be changed to present participle"? –  Kristina Lopez Nov 12 '12 at 18:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

No. Clasped is what is required here, but clasping would be possible if over was omitted.

share|improve this answer
    
Can you please elaborate? –  Anderson Silva Nov 12 '12 at 14:06
2  
He had clasped his hands over his seat, so the participle (doing the work of an adjective here) is clasped. You could also say that he was clasping his seat, but not 'over his seat'. –  TimLymington Nov 12 '12 at 14:13
1  
Here, clasped has to be parsed as an adjective (modifying hands), because the verb clasp is transitive, and needs a direct object. You can't use clasping without a direct object. So clasping his fat bottom would be fine, but clasping over it is ungrammatical. (Although to clasp on something is grammatical, with clasp on being a phrasal verb meaning to attach with a clasp. So with his hands clasping on his fat bottom would be grammatical, but would mean something quite different.) –  Peter Shor Nov 12 '12 at 16:25

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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