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MysteryRiter
03-25-2012, 12:53 AM
I'm sure this has already been discussed somewhere, but I didn't know what to search for.

In a sentence like this...


Securely i
nside, they spent their time eating.

...When the subordinating clause doesn't have a verb, is it still grammatically correct?

I know I can just say "when they were securely inside" which I often do, but I've read books (small press published, usually) that use the same form as the quoted sentence and I catch myself doing it as well once in a while. Is it grammatically correct?

I assume it isn't--or at least it sounds awkward--but I'm curious.

Thanks!

ETA: Sorry about the quoting fail. I'm trying to fix it but it's doing that automatically.

Terie
03-25-2012, 12:59 AM
(You can fix the formatting by manually deleting the end and beginning quote markers in the middle of the word 'inside'.)

A dependent introductory clause, such as your example, is perfectly fine.

The danger with this structure is if the subject of the dependent intro clause and the subject of the sentence are different, but in your example, 'they' is the subject of both, so you're good to go.

An example of a bad sentence with this structure would be something like, 'Eating quickly, the house was quiet.' In this example someone is the subject of the intro clause, but 'house' is the subject of the sentence. In this case, the result is a misplaced modifier; that is, 'eating quickly' doesn't modify 'house'.

Billtrumpet25
03-31-2012, 08:41 AM
(You can fix the formatting by manually deleting the end and beginning quote markers in the middle of the word 'inside'.)

A dependent introductory clause, such as your example, is perfectly fine.

The danger with this structure is if the subject of the dependent intro clause and the subject of the sentence are different, but in your example, 'they' is the subject of both, so you're good to go.

An example of a bad sentence with this structure would be something like, 'Eating quickly, the house was quiet.' In this example someone is the subject of the intro clause, but 'house' is the subject of the sentence. In this case, the result is a misplaced modifier; that is, 'eating quickly' doesn't modify 'house'.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

BethS
04-01-2012, 03:26 AM
I would have said, "Once inside, they..."