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Which of the following is correct?

  1. The Boeing 777 crashed, carrying 227 passengers and a crew of 12 members, into international waters.

  2. The Boeing 777, carrying 227 passengers and a crew of 12 members, crashed into international waters.

Any elaboration would be very much appreciated.

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The second one. The first maybe implies that the plane crash itself carried the passengers into international waters, and that the plane wasn't necessarily carrying anything.

The second just has a subordinate clause giving more information about the plane, before saying it crashed.

  • I am not sure I follow this part: "The first maybe implies that the plane crash itself carried the passengers into international waters, and that the plane wasn't necessarily carrying anything." Could you elaborate please? – rery Apr 4 '14 at 15:47
  • Imagine there was a boat of '227 passengers and a crew of 12 members' in the sea. It could be argued that the plane came down and the resulting waves 'carried' the passengers and crew into 'international waters'. The first of your sentences states initially the 'Boeing 777 crashed', and doesn't necessarily associate the passengers and crew with the plane. I know that most people would assume that association, but the second sentence positively affirms the association rather than leaving it to interpretation. – mjsqu Apr 4 '14 at 16:03
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This dependent clause is a participle carrying NP, (which is) derived from the nonrestrictive relative clause (which was) carrying NP. Relative clauses modify nouns; this one modifies the noun phrase the plane, and therefore should come immediately after it.

There are several different kinds of subordinate clauses:
some (complement clauses) have to go either before, or more often after, verbs,
some (adverb clauses) can go in a number of places, and
some (relative clauses like this, which are adjective clauses) have to go after the nouns they modify.

Just saying "subordinate clause" doesn't give enough information here.

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The second one seems right because the first one could mean that the plane crashed due to carrying all those passengers and crew members. The second one avoids this confusion and reduces ambiguity so if I were you I would go with the second one. If you read the newspaper you will see that the second one is given more preference and you'll hardly see or hear any one using the first one.

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