In the sentence,

"The thin (Franciscan,) (understanding) the Dominican smile, (decided) to intervene and stop the argument." (No error),

we were asked to identify the error.

Those that are in the parenthesis were the given choices. I was told that there is no error in sentence; however, i am not convinced. This is because of the words -- "understanding", "decided" and "stop" in the sentence is not coherent in form. Please explain. I'm confused :(

  • I don't see the word "STOP" in the question.
    – mankowitz
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 4:40
  • 1
    @mankowitz you are blind. lol.
    – H_7
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 6:26
  • @hatchi - sorry, that didn't make sense. I didn't see the word stop as one of the choices in the question. That's what I meant.
    – mankowitz
    Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 8:19
  • Shouldn't it be the Dominican's (possessive) smile? It's not ungrammatical as it is, but it's quite odd—especially if nobody was smiling. If nobody was smiling, what does the general concept of the Dominican smile have to do with anything? (And is there even such a general concept?) Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 13:08
  • What do you mean by "not coherent"? "Franciscan" is a nominalized proper adjective, "understanding" is a participle, "decided" is the simple past-tense form, and both "intervene" and "stop" are bare infinitives governed by the the preceding "to". The finite form has a clear subject, and even the non-finite forms have clear agents. Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


The sentence looks correct as written. If you take out the dependent clause, you are left with

The thin Franciscan decided to intervene and stop the argument.

No error there. When you put the dependent phrase in, you are saying that the thin Franciscan was familiar with the particular smile and knew what to do.

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