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  1. While in Rome, John took a lot of pictures.

  2. While he was in Rome, John took a lot of pictures.

  3. Although on vacation, John calls the office often.

  4. Although he is on vacation, John calls the office often.

  5. Many people have a disinclination to recognize the weakness of their analytical skills while willing to admit their lack of computer skills or other technical skills.

  6. Many people have a disinclination to admit fault while recognizing that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time.

Both While and Although are subordinating conjunctions, I am confused whether they should be followed by a full clause (with verb) or not.

Which one of the above examples are incorrect? I have seen many "while +ing," modifiers whereas Although must be followed by a clause which has a subject and a verb. Is that correct?

Which subordinating conjunctions (as in ON A WHITE BUS mnemonic) must be followed by a clause with verbs and which ones are more flexible?

Excuse my English - not a native speaker.

  • 1
    All clauses have verbs. Sometimes the verbs are all predictable auxiliaries, however, and get deleted. Like he is/was in the odd-numbered versions. This is pretty normal for adverbial clauses; they decay into participial and prepositional phrases pretty easily. – John Lawler Mar 7 '14 at 6:02
  • 1
    I think the culprit is while: it presupposes an ongoing activity. – Kris Mar 7 '14 at 6:25
  • #5,#6 while is in contrasting function – code19 Mar 7 '14 at 6:45
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    @John Lawler 'Many people have a disinclination to admit fault while they are recognizing that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time' sounds far less natural than 'Many people have a disinclination to admit fault, while they recognize that they can’t possibly be in the right all the time.' Is there an explanation of a "reduction to a participial 'phrase' " (I'm in the 'clause' school) here? – Edwin Ashworth Mar 7 '14 at 10:24
  • @EdwinAshworth I think the "unnaturalness" is a function of placement; "while they are" seems to modify the preceding predicate rather than the subject. *Many people, while recognizing ..., have a disinclination ... * works just fine for me. – StoneyB Mar 7 '14 at 14:02
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The following is my initial attempt to answer your final question.

Y = can be reduced
N = can't be reduced
? = some people may allow a reduced form
S = some reductions but not others seem allowable
Q = would seem to be reducible, but not by simple elision of a form of be

only if (Y)

  • only if he is taking his tablets
  • only if taking his tablets

now that (N)

  • now that he is taking his tablets
  • now that taking his tablets

after (Q)

  • after he is taking his tablets
  • after taking his tablets

although (Y)

  • although he is taking his tablets
  • although taking his tablets

as (N)

  • as he is taking his tablets
  • as taking his tablets

when (Y)

  • when he is taking his tablets
  • when taking his tablets

whereas (N)

  • whereas he is taking his tablets
  • whereas taking his tablets

while (Y/S)

  • while he is taking his tablets
  • while taking his tablets

whenever (?)

  • whenever he is taking his tablets
  • whenever taking his tablets

wherever (S)

  • wherever he is taking his tablets
  • wherever taking his tablets

whether or not (S)

  • whether or not he is taking his tablets
  • whether or not taking his tablets

in case (N)

  • in case he is taking his tablets
  • in case taking his tablets

if (S)

  • if he is taking his tablets
  • if taking his tablets

though (Y)

  • though he is taking his tablets
  • though taking his tablets

even though (Y)

  • even though he is taking his tablets
  • even though taking his tablets

even if (Y)

  • even if he is taking his tablets
  • even if taking his tablets

before (Q)

  • before he is taking his tablets
  • before taking his tablets

because (N)

  • because he is taking his tablets
  • because taking his tablets

until (Q)

  • until he is taking his tablets
  • until taking his tablets

unless (Y)

  • unless he is taking his tablets
  • unless taking his tablets

since (Q)

  • since he is taking his tablets
  • since taking his tablets

so [that] (N)

  • so [that] he is taking his tablets
  • so [that] taking his tablets

This is, as I say, an attempt. Others may find it needs correcting / adjusting.

2

Whilst accepting what John Lawler says, I can't agree with your suggestion re 'although'.

'Although ill, he went to work' or

'Although 90 years old, he runs marathons',

are perfectly everyday grammatical expressions.

  • I'd say 'though' is the usual choice here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 7 '14 at 10:29
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes 'though' or 'although' both work here. – WS2 Mar 7 '14 at 11:25

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