If celebrities visit public places, such as malls and bars, people will crowd them demanding for a picture or autograph.

1: Why did the writer use the "-ing" form of the verb "demand"? Is there any rule for this?

2: Why there was no article before the word "autograph"?

  • Here, 'demanding ... a picture or autograph' is an adjunct (tacked-on information), specifically an ing-clause modifying the main clause ('people will crowd them'). The second article ('an') would be preferred by some, but the original is a deleted form some would use. Sep 1, 2021 at 11:05
  • Is it really modifying the main clause people will crowd them? I parse it as modifying the subject people. Certainly if it was people will crowd them getting in the way, I'd take getting in the way to be applying to people, not the whole clause. Sep 1, 2021 at 11:12
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    @tea-and-cake I see the demanding as semantically dependent on the crowding. ' ... people will crowd [round] them in order to demand a picture or autograph'. It would be different with ' ... people will crowd them, not failing to recognise them'. Though the ing-clause would probably be better switched to postnominal position if the noun is intended to be modified. Sep 1, 2021 at 11:30
  • @EdwinAshworth Interesting point! It looks like there's an ambiguity in that structure that can only be resolved by the semantics. (I thought at first that maybe the presence or otherwise of a comma was relevant, but you could insert a comma in OP's sentence before demanding and it wouldn't change anything.) Sep 1, 2021 at 11:37
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    @tea-and-cake deadrat looks at this issue at Can a participle phrase/clause modify a clause? Sep 1, 2021 at 11:53

1 Answer 1

  1. Demanding for a picture or autograph is a participial construction used as an adverbial clause (containing an adverbial participle) modifying will crowd to express the reason why people will crowd the celebrities, though others might argue that this is an adverbial of purpose.

  2. A picture or autograph: the indefinite article an was omitted before autograph probably to include picture and autograph into one category: the type of thing fans may ask for.

  • Is 'to demand for something' idiomatic? Grammatical? Sep 1, 2021 at 11:24
  • @EdwinAshworth Good point, for got stuck probably by analogy with ask for. But GNgram records it. And yes, it is odd to say that you "demand an autograph from a celebrity", it would be very haughty, unacceptable in fact. But maybe it was used to show that people force themselves on celebrities at times.
    – fev
    Sep 1, 2021 at 11:28
  • In 1. A depictive adjunct, to be precise, giving descriptive information about "people". And in 2, an NP coordination determined by "a".
    – BillJ
    Sep 1, 2021 at 13:23

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