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The nominative absolute participial construction




This construction consists of two interdependent elements, nominal and verbal, which are in a predicative relation. The nominal element is a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case. The verbal element is participle I in any of its forms. The nominal and the verbal elements make a syntactical complex functioning as a detached adverbial modifier. Unlike the objective participial construction it does not depend on a verb:

 

John having left the room to ring for a taxi as arranged, Mary sat down again to wait for him.

 

The difference between a participial phrase and a nominative abso­lute participial construction may be illustrated as follows:

 

Having read the novel Jane (she) put it aside.

       
   


The novel having been read, Jane (she) put it aside.

       
   

 


In a participial phrase the subject of the sentence is as a rule related both to the predicate verb and to the participle. In a sentence with a nominative absolute participial construction the subject of the sentence is related only to the predicate verb, and the nominal element is related to the participle.

The nominative absolute participial construction functions syntactically as an adverbial modifier: an adverbial modifier ofa) attendant circumstances, b) reason, c) occasionally time.

a) Llewellyn looked through the window, his glance travelling towards the bridge.

Mabel hurried out of the car and walked away, tears streaming down her face.

We were both standing leaning against the mantelpiece, she admirng her fan of blotting paper, I staring

at her.

 

A nominative absolute participial construction as an adverbial of attendant circumstances usually stands in postposition, and is widely used in literature.

It is translated into Russian by a coordinate clause: Мы оба стояли у камина; она любовалась веером из промокательной бумаги, а я глядел на нее.



 

b) But I was a little on edge, there being something to report.

The ship’s band did not play in the morning, it being Sunday.

 

c) The work being finished, the two girls went into the shop.

 

Sentences with a nominative absolute participial construction as an adverbial of reason or time are translated by complex sentences with the corresponding subordinate clauses: Я нервничал, так как было о чем сообщить... Когда работа была закончена, девушки вошли в мастерскую.

 

As well as in sentences with participial phrases causal and temporal meanings may be combined, as in:

 

Ice having thus been broken, the two former rivals grew still more affectionate.

 

Prepositional absolute participial construction with participle I

 

A prepositional absolute construction differs from a non-prepositional participial construction in that it is introduced by the preposition with. Its nominal part is usually a noun in the common case, or very rarely a personal pronoun in the objective case. It is not necessarily set off by a comma:

 

Andrew went into the house with his heart beating fast.

The main syntactical function of the construction is an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances, as in:

 

The officer sat with his long fine hands lying on the table perfectly still.

The meaning of attendant circumstances may be combined with temporal or causal ones:

 

I won’t speak with him staring at me like that.

Just now, with the harvest coming on, everything looks its richest.

It (St. John’s Wood) is ever so pretty with all the trees coming out.

 

The construction is usually translated into Russian by a coordinate or a subordinate clause, and sometimes by means of a prepositional phrase, or an adverbial participle (деепричастие).

 

(Когда) Эндрю вошел в дом, сердце его сильно билось (с бьющимся сердцем).

Теперь, когда приближается время жатвы, все так красиво.

 

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