When participle phrase comes at the end of the sentence, it usually modifies the subject.

1 He smiled nervously with a chocolate in his hands, thinking that the end has come.

Here, participle phrase "thinking that the end has come"modifies "he", not hands. What I want to ask is, is it OK to put a participle phrase that would modify "hands"?

2 He smiled nervously with a chocolate in his hands, darkened with sweetness.

Here, I meant to make past participle phrase "darkened with sweetness" modify his hands.

The reason I am asking is because I realized that participle phrases can be used in the position of appositives:

3 His hands, darkened with sweetness, were holding a chocolate.

So does my sentence 2 work in the same way as the sentence 3, or is it impossible to use sentence 2 at all? Is it OK to use sentence 2?

  • 1
    3 is not an appositive, but rather a reduced relative clause. But sure, 2 is fine. If you'd like to remove all ambiguity, make the clause restrictive: "He smiled nervously with a chocolate in hands darkened with sweetness." – deadrat Sep 21 '15 at 2:11
  • Is the non-restrictive version, the sentence 2, a little ambiguous to you? – sooeithdk Sep 21 '15 at 2:19
  • No, the semantic cues do it for me. – deadrat Sep 21 '15 at 2:41

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