For the first sentence in the picture below:

enter image description here

There were times, listening to Arnold and narrowing his eyes in the same heat-struck gaze, when Jack felt turned about. Away from the Bay and its red rocks, away from their gangs, their games, this particular...

what is the function of present participle here? And why is the restrictive relative clause separated from its antecedent? Please help me, thanks!

  • 1
    It would be better if you posted text. The image is really blurry.
    – Barmar
    Sep 20 '20 at 6:06
  • These sentences seem very poorly constructed to me. The restrictive clause seems like a dangling modifier.
    – Barmar
    Sep 20 '20 at 6:08
  • Is the narrator supposed to be someone poorly educated.
    – Barmar
    Sep 20 '20 at 6:09
  • It's a simple "parenthetical expression".
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 20 '20 at 21:13

There were times, [listening to Arnold and narrowing his eyes in the same heat-struck gaze], when Jack felt turned about.

There are two ing-form participles here, "listening" and "narrowing", whose function is that of 'predicator'.

The bracketed element is an adjunct consisting of a coordination of two clauses functioning as a supplement, a loosely attached expression set off by intonation and punctuation, presenting supplementary non-integrated content.

It is possible for a relative clause to occur in postposed position where there is intervening material such as a supplement provided there is no confusion about the intended antecedent. Here, there is no doubt that "times" is the antecedent of "when".


Now, reading this question and focusing on its blurred image, I feel interested in its topic.

The clause between commas is an appositional and restrictive description of the subject’s state at the time or times defined by the start of the sentence.

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