What's the subject? Is it "Moses leading the children ..." or is it "Moses?"

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Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery is a good example of how easy it is to lose focus.

 

 

NOTE:

I don't mean that "Moses" is a good example of how easy it is to lose focus.  

asked Sep 10 '13 at 04:57 Susan New member

4 answers


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With the additional information in your comment to Aaron, I have to say that you’ll need to find a way to rewrite the sentence, Susan.  It lacks clarity.  I have no idea what leading people out of slavery has to do with those people easily losing focus.  The sentence appears to say that Moses should have been focused on something, but got sidetracked because he was busy leading people out of slavery.  

link comment answered Sep 10 '13 at 16:13 Patty T Grammarly Fellow
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If you want to stress that it was the leading that caused the loss of focus, make Moses possessive which changes 'leading' to a gerund (noun usage).

 

Moses's leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery is a good example of how easy it is to lose focus.

link comment answered Sep 10 '13 at 11:21 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow
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Technically, Sanjay is correct, but I want to clarify exactly what is what...

 

It all depends on whether or not you are including adjectives describing the subject as part of your subject.  I, personally, don't.  I call them adjectives.

 

With , "Moses is a good example of how easy it is to lose focus," Moses is your subject.

 

"leading the children of Israel out of Egyptial slavery" is a participial phrase that is describing Moses, and, as such, it is being used as an adjective to describe the subject

 

Maybe reading the sentence like this will help clarify it for you:

Moses, leading the children out of Egyptian slavery, is a good example of how easy it is to lose focus.

 

Since you don't use commas and it is a restrictive clause to example what about Moses is a good example, most teachers (including Sanjay), would probably consider it inexorably interwined with the name, Moses.

link answered Sep 10 '13 at 11:25 Aaron Prejean Expert

Actually, the children of Israel were the ones who lost focus, not Moses. Moses was just leading the people. In that case, what is correct? Thank you all for your suggestions.

SusanSep 10 '13 at 15:49

"when" can start an adjective clause if used appropriately. I would just chance the subject. "The children, when Moses led them out of Egyptian slavery, serve as a good example of how easy it is to lose focus." (I assume what follows will be explaining how the children lost focus.)

Aaron PrejeanSep 10 '13 at 21:47

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Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery  is the subject of the sentence.

link comment answered Sep 10 '13 at 05:17 Sanjay Expert

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