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Sometimes adverb clauses can be reduced to adverb phrases. For instance "When I fell off my bike, I hurt my back" can be reduced to "(When) falling off my bike, I hurt my back". However, sometimes the reduction doesn't sound correct. For example "When I saw him, I remembered all the memories again" cannot be reduced to "When seeing him, I remembered all the memories again". Or "Even if I have a lot of time, I can't finish the project on time" cannot be reduced to "Even if having a lot of time..." Is there any rule as to what types of adverb clauses can be reduced to adverb phrases?

Thanks

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    I'd say there's no block on reduction with any of your examples (which I'd prefer to tweak, as even the originals don't sound quite right). "Seeing him, I remembered all the great times we had had together." / "Even having a lot of time, I couldn't finish the project on time." The latter does sound clunky, I'll admit. // Using the shortened forms participial clauses offer can sometimes result in loss of detail. Does "Sitting in the waiting room, I began to feel anxious" mean "Because I was in the [dentist's] waiting room ..." or just "While I was in the waiting room ...". – Edwin Ashworth Nov 8 at 17:39
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    Agreed. All deletion loses information, but it's filled in, as usual, by guessing about motive in context. And if you're deleting the guts of the clause and leaving only the verb phrase in order to front it, why leave the introductory words like when? They're predictable and therefore customarily omitted. If it's not clear whether the anxiety is contemporaneous or causational, then the phrase shouldn't be fronted. You only front obvious things; complexities go at the end. – John Lawler Nov 8 at 17:51

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