LOOSE PARTICIPLES





A participle or participial phrase is naturally referred to the nearest

nominative. If only one nominative is expressed it claims all the

participles that are not by the construction of the sentence otherwise

fixed. "John, working in the field all day and getting thirsty, drank

from the running stream." Here the participles working and getting

clearly refer to John. But in the sentence,--"Swept along by the mob I

could not save him," the participle as it were is lying around loose and

may be taken to refer to either the person speaking or to the person

spoken about. It may mean that I was swept along by the mob or the

individual whom I tried to save was swept along.



"Going into the store the roof fell" can be taken that it was the roof

which was going into the store when it fell. Of course the meaning

intended is that some person or persons were going into the store just as

the roof fell.



In all sentence construction with participles there should be such

clearness as to preclude all possibility of ambiguity. The participle

should be so placed that there can be no doubt as to the noun to which it

refers. Often it is advisable to supply such words as will make the

meaning obvious.





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