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This is a line from a story I'm writing: "The blanket had been peeled back, revealing imprints of recent slumber." Is this correct or should I make another sentence for the second clause?

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    What you have is unexceptionable. Don't overthink it.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 23:10
  • It isn't unexceptionable; it's clumsy and the imagery is inaccurate. True, there are no grammar problems (or, as Jasper Locke wrote, “nothing wrong with the structure”). Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 4:34

2 Answers 2

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There's nothing wrong with the structure. It is common in writing and literature, especially at the end. If rewritten into two sentences or conjoined by "and" and 'finitizing' the verb (revealing->reveal), it could be seen as stylistically wordy or clumsy.

It also provides a smoother cause and effect/result:

  1. The blanket had been peeled back, (cause)
  2. revealing imprints of recent slumber (result)

It's also common in literature in general:

"Here and there through the smoke, creeping warily under the shadows of tottering walls, emerged occasional men and women." (Jack London, "Story of an Eyewitness: The San Francisco Earthquake." Collier's Weekly, May 5, 1906)

"Then he saw the eagles across the distance, two of them, riding low in the depths and rising diagonally toward him." (N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn, 1969)

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To address your header, if you do use this structure a lot, perhaps, you should try to vary it by using a different structure (e.g., infinitive phrase, To tell me that I didn't earn those badges is a lie.)

Though the construction above is perfectly acceptable, it can be hazardous and lead to hilarity (and ambiguity):

Oozing slowly across the floor, Marvin watched the salad dressing.

Driving like a maniac, the deer was hit and killed.

Holding a bag of groceries, the roach flew out of the cabinet.

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I used ones that are humorous because they illustrate the dangers of the phrase best in my opinion.

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I vote for a single sentence:

  1. the grammar is O.K.
  2. two sentences would increase the total word count
  3. two sentences would not improve clarity or remove ambiguity

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