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I need your valuable comments on the following two sentences regarding the meaning of participle clauses:

  1. Economists often criticize rent control, arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

What is the meaning of the participle clause arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living in sentence (1)? How does it relate to the other syntactic constituents in that sentence? How could this sentence be restructured (by) using a dependent clause instead of a participle clause?

  1. For low levels of quantity supplied, the elasticity of supply is high, indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price.

What is the meaning of the participle clause indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price in sentence (2)? How does it relate to the other syntactic constituents in that sentence? How could that sentence be restructured (by) using a dependent clause instead of a participle clause?

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  • How about - 1. Economists often criticise rent control because, they argue, it is a highly inefficient way... 2. For low levels of quantity supplied, the elasticity of supply is high, which indicates that... ? Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 7:19
  • Kate bunting can you tell me which indicates that … where is coming “ which”
    – Yasir
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 10:12
  • The fact that the elasticity of supply is high indicates that firms respond to price changes. Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 11:35
  • Thank you so much you more than teacher you taught me a lot of confused participles especially storytelling and news thank you Kate bunting thank you Kate your kindness and fast replying
    – Yasir
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 18:28
  • Thanks a lot Kate bunting
    – Yasir
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 18:31

1 Answer 1

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TLDR: For whatever reason, questions regarding the possible syntactic structures involving ‑ing phrases / clauses are among the most common questions we get here, especially but hardly exclusively coming from new learners of English: see also the related questions listing at the bottom of this post.


The obvious way to write these without your ‑ing clause is using present tense:

  1. Economists often criticize rent control: they argue that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

  2. For low levels of quantity supplied, the elasticity of supply is high: this indicates that firms respond substantially to changes in the price.

Sometimes you can use a preposition to connect to your ‑ing clause:

  1. Economists often criticize rent control by arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

Other times you can fuse the clauses:

  1. For low levels of quantity supplied, the high elasticity of supply indicates that firms respond substantially to changes in the price.

But you do need to get used to ‑ing phrases acting as modifiers in their own right, needing no preposition before them or imagined syntactic rearrangements chasing them away.

Participial clauses can modify individual words like nouns or verbs as well as multiword phrases, clauses, and indeed entire sentences.

  1. We really ought to go home soon while we can still see the forest path, considering how dark it gets this time of year.

  2. Seeing no other choice, we called for an ambulance.

  3. She groaned in disgust, noticing the fresh dog mess too late to avoid putting her foot in it.

  4. Rounding the corner, we saw the start of the line.

  5. I couldn't stop worrying, checking my phone incessantly for updates.

  6. Nearing the red empty mark, our fuel gauge told us we were in serious trouble.

  7. Lucking out, the mouse found its hole before the cat did.

  8. She lay staring into the sky.

  9. He came running towards me.

  10. They arrived disappointed, finding nobody there.

  11. We ran out screaming bloody murder.

  12. Your dream finally came true, taking first place at the pie contest.

  13. I stopped the clock, pausing the game.

  14. The state’s ACLU branch reached out to the Massachusetts State Police requesting records regarding the acquisition and use of robotics.

  15. You enhance your self-confidence exercising regularly.

  16. John being away from the office, Helen assigned the task to Rosa.

See Also

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