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In below formal excerpt, how the first part, bolded, can be thought grammatically:

With personnel an enduring target of violence, we must work together to ensure our safety.

It is structured this way: Prepositional phrase + noun [phrase] + noun [phrase].

Should not it have been written this way: With personnel becoming an enduring target of violence, we must work together to ensure our safety.

Usually, the "with prepositional phrases" come in the following structures:

  • With + noun + adjective [phrase], as in:
  • We lay in bed with the window open. (indicating position or state somebody in).
  • With John away there’s more room in the house. (indicating reason)
  • With + noun + participle + noun, as in:
  • I can’t do my homework with all this noise going on. (Reason).
  • We jumped into the water with bullets whizzing past our ears. (what is happening at the time of an action).
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2 Answers 2

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With personnel an enduring target of violence, we must work together to ensure our safety.

The sentence perfectly acceptable and requires no modification.

It is fronted by the prepositional (adverbial) phrase "With personnel an enduring target of violence" that modifies the main clause "we must work together to ensure our safety."

The clause also contains a reduced relative clause: personnel an enduring target, which, in full, is "personnel who are an enduring target".

This omission is relatively common.

The sentence can be fronted by changing the phrase to a clause of purpose and can be understood as

"As or because we are accompanied by personnel who are an enduring target of violence, we must work together to ensure our safety".

Compare "With 1000 litres of water needed for the journey, we will have to have a truck. = "As or because we are accompanied by 1000 litres of water that is needed for the journey, we will have to have a truck.

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  • Just because the construction includes the word with needn't imply "we are accompanied by" (personnel / water). The actual meanings of these prepositional phrases are Given that personnel are an enduring target of violence..., and Given that 1000 litres of water are needed for the journey... We can see this by noting that With all our truck drivers on strike, we will have to use a van is fine - equivalent to Given that all our truck drivers are on strike... OR All our truck drivers being on strike... Jun 28, 2023 at 4:08
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    The with phrase is not a modifier. It's functioning as a supplementary adjunct, more specifically an adjunct of implicated reason. It gives the reason for the matrix situation.
    – BillJ
    Jun 28, 2023 at 7:33
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    Further, I wouldn't say that personnel an enduring target is a 'reduced' relative clause but an NP headed by "personnel", and "an enduring target" as complement, cf. "with personnel being an enduring target of violence".
    – BillJ
    Jun 28, 2023 at 8:51
  • @FumbleFingers "With" invariably indicates an accompaniment of some sort. In your example it is the circumstances that accompany.
    – Greybeard
    Jun 28, 2023 at 10:06
  • @BillJ I'm sure that CGEL expresses one possible interpretation but, given the nature and style of the OP's question, the complexity might override the understanding. "Reduced relative clause" is a useful and assimilable phrase as any.
    – Greybeard
    Jun 28, 2023 at 10:10
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[With personnel an enduring target of violence], we must work together to ensure our safety.

You're on the right lines when you say 'reason'.

The comma marks the with phrase as a supplement, one set off from the rest of the clause by broken intonation and punctuation.

Semantically, the construction has a general circumstantial meaning, but which may be interpreted as giving the reason for the matrix situation.

For this reason, it's best analysed as being an adjunct of implicated reason.

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