Many times, I see three different ways in expressing the details of the sentence. 1) absolute phrases with past participles, 2) Prepositional Phrases, and 3) Participial Phrases. I wonder if they are semantically equivalent and if any one is more idiomatically more favorable to the others.


  • His attention grabbed, John turned to Sera.
  • With his attention grabbed, John turned to Sera.
  • Having his attention grabbed, John turned to Sera.
  • Of the three, only the first is an example of nominative absolute or absolute phrase. 3 uses the gerund-participle clause. 2 starts the sentence with a prepositional phrase.
    – user405662
    Jan 23, 2021 at 10:48
  • (1) Note that all that all the examples at the site you link to start with a noun group. Some demand this as a defining factor. (2) Some, however, recognise other such stand-alone strings as also being absolutes. One source gives an example of the form 'Happy with his lolly, John did not notice the dolphins frolicking in the bay.' (3) Idiomaticity and general grammaticality do not overlap exactly here. Removing the 'padding' 'with his lolly' (the adjective complement) from the dolphin sentence leaves a sentence at least approaching unacceptability. The ... Jan 23, 2021 at 11:12
  • longer adjective 'ecstatic' sounds less unnatural. Participial adjectives usually sound at least passable. See this answer for the sense of 'absolute adjective' meaning 'adjective used as/in an absolute (stand-alone) construction'. Jan 23, 2021 at 11:16
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Does this sentence use nominative absolute phrase? Jan 23, 2021 at 11:21
  • The whole point of the term 'absolute' is that the non-finite clause has no syntactic link to the main clause. It is for this reason that an absolute clause must contain a subject.
    – BillJ
    Jan 23, 2021 at 11:22


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