In books written in the nineteenth century, you can come across sentences like this (quoting from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary):

A Pilgrim Father was one who, leaving Europe in 1620 because not permitted to sing psalms through his nose, followed it [the pilgrim] to Massachusetts, where he could personate God according to the dictates of his conscience.

Another well-known writer in whose works I'm certain I found this kind of usage is Jane Austen.

I'm not sure I understand this usage.


1 Answer 1


I see it as a simple case of omission. The longer sentence would in fact be:

A Pilgrim Father was one who, leaving Europe in 1620 because (he was) not permitted to sing psalms...

It makes sense too and not old-fashioned, archaic or anything. Because the writer is using a V+ing Participial Phrase ("leaving Europe"), it's better to just add another P.P. Participial Phrase ("not permitted").

  • «because of not being permitted», too Jun 26, 2012 at 5:29
  • Cool Elf, may I suggest you use the Blockquote when answering (the large " on the toolbar). It avoids the horizontal scrollbar when the line is long. Jun 26, 2012 at 5:34
  • So does that mean I can't use this in a sentence like this: "I couldn't make it because ill." Jun 26, 2012 at 5:55
  • @Brian, thanks for telling me that. I'll try it next time
    – Cool Elf
    Jun 26, 2012 at 7:15
  • @Kaiser, "because" is a Conjunction so it can't be followed by a Noun - or an Adjective like in your example
    – Cool Elf
    Jun 26, 2012 at 7:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.