3

I would like to ask if the following sentence is grammatically correct because apparently two relative clause was used successively without any relative pronoun or whatever it is that sentence needs.

An eighteen-year-old Ballina man who drove his car at another youth resulting in him being flung onto the roof of the car was given a five year suspended sentence at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.

If I disperse :

The following relative clause

...who drove his car at another youth resulting in him being flung onto the roof of the car...

was used before the main verb "was given" in the sentence. While the part "man who drove his car at another youth" is the first relative clause simple and understandable, I could not understand the second one "resulting in him being flung onto the roof of the car" how the writer connected these two parts before main verb .

  • He drove his car at a youth. That action resulted in the youth being flung onto the car roof. Just the same as The CEO resigned, resulting in a boardroom power struggle, where the subject could be referred to as The CEO who resigned, resulting in a boardroom power struggle, issued a statement last night explaining his actions. What don't you understand? – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '16 at 15:07
  • 1
    The sentence would read more easily if the bolded phrase were set off by commas. That would also be consistent with the fact that those words could be removed altogether without altering the main idea of the sentence. – PellMel Apr 28 '16 at 15:13
  • @FumbleFingers it is understandable now – Mrt Apr 28 '16 at 15:16
  • 1
    There's only one relative clause, The clause resulting in him being flung onto the roof of the car is just a result adjunct, not a relative clause. You could omit it with no loss of grammaticality; pretty much parenthetical really. – BillJ Apr 28 '16 at 15:17
1

Good question. Resulting is a participle, and normally a participle modifies a specific noun, usually the subject of a clause. However, in this case you could say the participle modifies nothing specific, or it modifies the entire preceding clause (who drove his car at another youth). It says something about the event described in the clause as a whole: the event described resulted in x. But there is no noun group like this event that it could modify, so it modifies the implicit event that took place.

This use of the participle is uncommon but perfectly acceptable. It is semantically aequivalent (though not syntactically aequivalent) to a relative clause:

he drove his car at another youth, which resulted in him being flung onto the roof of the car

Which does not refer to another youth, nor to he, nor yet to his car: it refers to the entire first clause, in an indirect manner. The event that is described in the first clause is what resulted in him being flung onto the roof of the car. So which does not refer back to a specific word, but to something vaguer.

  • 1
    You are absolutely right about the participle, but participles can serve as adverbs, too, not just as adjectives. That seems to be how it is used here: as an adverb modifying "drove". It describes the result of that action. – PellMel Apr 28 '16 at 15:10
  • It might be helpful to note that we could easily introduce a more specific noun to be the "subject" of the participle: He [did something], which action resulted in [some outcome]. – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '16 at 15:10
  • @PellMel: You could say that resulting is an adverb there. However, then what would the semantically similar which clause be (see my "quotation")? Would you say a which clause can be used adverbially? I'd rather not analyse it like that, I think. I'd rather assume an implicit noun and analyse the participle or which clause as modifying this noun. Consider also this example: I saw the shape of her cat underneath the blankets, a big cat, resulting in a big lump. Would you say resulting... is used adverbially here, too? If so, what verb does it modify exactly? – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 28 '16 at 16:47
  • @FumbleFingers: I suppose that is possible: but then what does which refer back to? It would still have to refer back to something, as it is a relative. Cf. I experienced love for the first time, which emotion is the most powerful of all. Here it refers back to love. I would say in your example you'd still have to say which action refers back to the whole previous clause, or to some implicit noun. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 28 '16 at 16:50
  • 1
    As for the cat under the blanket, the sentence is grammatically problematic for pretty much the reason you describe. The lump results from the cat being under the blanket, not from seeing the cat's shape. I would say that in that case "resulting [...]" is trying to be used adverbially, but failing because it has no referent -- neither any specific word nor in any sense any other phrase in the sentence. In other words, it is grammatically incorrect. – PellMel Apr 28 '16 at 18:01
1

The following relative clause "...who drove his car at another youth resulting in him being flung onto the roof of the car..." was used before the main verb "was given" in the sentence.

Journalists are notorious for trying to cram as much information into their lead (often spelled "lede") as they possibly can, without much regard for whether the result is clumsy or not.

I would have (at least) edited this lead as follows:

An eighteen-year-old Ballina man who drove his car at another youth, resulting in his being flung onto the roof of the car, was given a five-year suspended sentence at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.

I see that Cerberus has provided an excellent analysis (as usual) while I was writing this answer, so I'll say no more.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.