1. Pulling down the sleeves of her jersey, she walked inside.

  2. She walked inside, pulling down the sleeves of her jersey.

  3. Pulling down the sleeves of her jersey, she walked inside, making a beeline for the counter.

  4. Pulling down the sleeves, walking inside, she made a beeline for the counter.

I know that both 1 & 2 are Participial Phrase.

Now, I'm having a problem, whether 3 is still a Participial Phrase because for me if we add to the number 1 sentence another phrase, something like "she made a beeline for the counter", then the correct structure must be number 4. I feel like number 3 opposes the rule of parallelism. So here's my question, is number 3 still correct and considered as a Participial Phrase? Or is number 4 incorrect? Please explain.

  • Welcome to the site, good question! To me those are all participial constructions. What is this rule of parallelism you speak of? Sentence 3 looks OK. Sentence 4 sounds a bit odd to me, because I think subsequent, adjacent participial constructions are normally conjoined with a conjunction (and) rather than a mere comma. – Cerberus Apr 9 '16 at 17:38
  • Yes, it is. Both the 'participial phrases' set off with a comma/commas are grammatically okay, though not especially natural, especially 4. Better to call them clauses, not phrases, by the way. – BillJ Apr 9 '16 at 17:40
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    #3 & #4 seem a bit clunky to me. The main difference between #1 and #2 is that I'd assume in the first version she probably at least started (if not completed) the pulling down of the sleeves before moving at all, but the second unambiguously asserts that she did this while walking. – FumbleFingers Apr 9 '16 at 18:03
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    @Edwin Ashworth No, don't forget the grammar - that's what the OP asked about. It was about whether they were participial phrases and the rules of parallelism - that's grammar. – BillJ Apr 9 '16 at 18:29
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    @BillJ If you insist on addressing the grammar, the question should be closed as a duplicate. I'm looking at the question-behind-the-question. Grammatically, all these are acceptable (though I'd prefer an'and' rather than a comma in (4)). The argument over whether the adjuncts should be considered phrases or clauses has been covered before. The new point for discussion with these examples is the mis-sequencing of the clauses (which OP labels wrong coordination). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 9 '16 at 18:42

I think this discussion is worth a full answer. There's a lot going on here and I'd like to know more. Trying to follow the thread of comments only brought up more questions for me.

In last two of the OP's examples, there are three things happening, with both sequentiality and simultaneousness, and there's a bit of danglingishness/semi parallelism going on too.

If the issue is grammatical, wouldn't it have to do with the positioning of the -ing's, and the use of commas, without an and ? I see three parts, and my brain wants to break them down like this:

1) Pulling down the sleeves of her jersey = participial

2) Making a beeline for the counter = participial

3) Walked inside = predicate

If I'm getting this at all, the OP's #3 is just a two-part participial that is sliced down the middle and separated by a predicate:

Pulling down the sleeves of her jersey, she walked inside, making a beeline for the counter.

I looked at another participial question and didn't find an answer there, so I'm glad this one didn't get trashed in the duplicate bin.

This page at Purdue's OWL was really helpful: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/627/02/

p.s. I like #3. Reading it makes me wonder what's going on at the counter that would make her pull up her sleeves...

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