I've been reading about the lore of Red Dead Redemption 2, I came across a certain phrase that I wonder about its name and what is the kind of function it serves. I have seen it elsewhere many times, but never cared about inquiring about it further untill just recently. To quote from Red Dead Wiki

When Arthur goes to confront Micah after discovering that he is the traitor, Cleet sides with Dutch and Micah in the ensuing standoff. Along with all those who sided with Dutch, he aims a gun at Arthur and John, until the Pinkertons descend upon the camp, with the larger group being the first to flee".

What does the phrase "with the larger group being the first to flee." mean? What is it called and when to use it?

  • 1
    It means essentially the same thing as "The larger group was the first to flee".
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 7 at 19:25
  • It doesn't seem to fit in this sentence. << The two groups of bandits lost their nerve when they saw the size of the cavalry column approaching, with the larger group being the first to flee.' makes more sense. The 'with + absolute construction' is quite common, and discussed before on ELU. Semantically, an elaboration on the bandits losing their nerve is added. Commented Jun 7 at 19:38
  • For with+participle, similar to this about "with our species establishing its rule over the Earth..."
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 7 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


The phrase means that when the Pinkertons descended on the camp, the larger group was the first to flee.

It is a depictive adjunct made up of head preposition with and an absolute construction consisting of a subject and a gerund-participial clause (-ing clause). These add a concurrent situation which does not have a clear semantic link to the rest of the clause (no clear reason, result or purpose).

I walked into the room with Bob being the only one to greet me.

These can be added to pretty much any main clause and the complement of with could also be an absolute construction with a subject and a predicative or locative complement.

I walked into the room with my hands [above my head]. [locative]

I walked into the room with my face [red]. [predicative]

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