5

For instance,

Angry, I smashed his head into the wall

Or should it be

Angrily, I smashed his head into the wall

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  • 1
    Does this answer your question? "Thirsty, we drank." Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 18:19
  • @EdwinAshworth That's an excellent answer. My takeaway from it is, "Yes, but in this case don't." Is that what you meant?
    – David K
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 2:39
  • @David K: It's not a matter of ungrammaticality. 'Angry with the concentration camp commander, I smashed his head into the wall' is fine while 'Angry, I smashed his head into the wall' just doesn't work. 'Exhausted, I collapsed into the chair' is also fine, and uses a bare absolute adjective (don't confuse this with the absolute ... comparative ... superlative usage, or with the gradeable v classifying, extreme, absolute classification of adjectives). Devastated and inconsolable would work, but not sad. Size matters here. // Please close-vote as a duplicate if you agree; adverb usage is basic. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 14:52
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I agree, but sadly I'm a few hundred points short of "close vote" privileges here.
    – David K
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 15:22

2 Answers 2

10

It can be either and that depends on what the person wants to say. If they want to say that they smashed someone's head into a wall because they were angry, then the first sentence is the right one. if instead they simply want to say that they were angry while smashing someone's head into a wall, then the second sentence is what has to be used.

6

The appositive meaning of "Angry" and "he" is clear and unambiguous so there is no reason to avoid the construction.

Cambridge dictionary

quotes an identical construct, albeit with a participial adjective "undaunted":

"Undaunted, we started to think about the problem."

You may also like the example of "Silent We Stood", which is the title of a novel by Henry Chappell.

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  • 3
    The variant with the past/passive participle is routine (though beware the dangling thereof); plain adjectives tend to sound a little odder. Also, O.P. has given us not he but rather I as the main-clause subject for the modifier to modify.. Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 0:01
  • 1
    @BrianDonovan Or if not a little odder, perhaps a little older as though decorated with oratorical flourishes. Sickly and despairing they came to him; healed and rejoicing they left him.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 2:32
  • A closer example - in both form and awkwardness - would be Dauntless, we started to think about the problem.
    – mcalex
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 7:01
  • Yes, that is a more precise fit to the prototype. Thanks.
    – Anton
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 7:31

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