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Could anyone please tell the functions of the bolded participles (raising, saying and displaying) in the following examples?

  1. ...and has continued with parliamentary duties this week, raising the possibility that he may have infected others. [Guardian]

  2. Not long afterwards, Hancock issued his own statement saying he too had tested positive. [ibid.]

  3. Prof Whitty, who had advised the prime minister to get tested, said he too was displaying symptoms. [ibid.]

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  • I assume you mean grammatical functions. In 1. "raising" is **predicator**(i.e. head) of the verb phrase "raising the possibility ...", which is functioning as predicate in a clause in adjunct function. The clause has a resultative meaning.In 2. "saying" is predicator in the verb phrase/clause "saying he had tested positive", which is a gerund-participial clause modifying "statement". In 3. "displacing" is complement of "was" in a progressive aspect verb phrase heading the clause "was displaying symptons".
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 15:55
  • @BillJ Good question! I assumed it was about semantic functions...
    – user373710
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 16:02

3 Answers 3

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[1] ...and has continued with parliamentary duties this week, [raising the possibility that he may have infected others].

[2] Not long afterwards, Hancock issued his own statement [saying he too had tested positive].

[3] Prof Whitty, who had advised the prime minister to get tested, said [he too was displaying symptoms].

I assume you mean grammatical functions, in which case I'm inclined to say:

In [1] "raising" is predicator (i.e. head) in the bracketed clause -- an adjunct with a resultative interpretation (note that "thus" could be added, as in "thus raising the possibility ..."

In [2] "saying" is predicator in the bracketed clause, functioning as modifier of "statement". The meaning is similar to the relative clause "which said he too had tested positive".

In 3. "displaying" is predicator in the clause "displaying symptoms", functioning as complement of "was" in the bracketed progressive aspect clause.

I think!

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In "raising the possibility...", raising is a participle fronting a reduced relative clause = "which raises the possibility..."

"saying he too had tested positive." saying is a participle in a free modifier (This modifies the whole of the main clause.)

"said he too was displaying symptoms." Please think about this yourself - isn't it obvious that it is part of the continuous form of the verb?

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In the first sentence, "raising" is the verbal form in the past participle phrase "raising the possibility that he may have infected others", which is a non restrictive participial phrase: it adds more information (ref.) and this is so because of the comma after "week" (see ref. again).

In the second sentence, "saying" is also such a form with respect to "saying he too had tested positive", a participial phrase that is, according to the same reference, restrictive, this being so as there is no comma after "statement".

In the third sentence there is not a participial phrase in the terms "displaying symptoms"; "displaying" is part of the verbal construction "was displaying", which is a progressive form, and "symptoms" is the object of this form, not the object of "displaying".

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