Independent clauses and independent phrases.


The spectators leaped to their feet, and they roared approval.
-> The spectators leaped to their feet, roaring approval.



Can we say "and they roard approval" modifes "leaped" or the sentence in front ?


If not, "roaring approval" modifes "leaped" or the sentence in front in the second example or none?



What do you think? Thank you so much.

edited Sep 03 '12 at 09:17 Hans Contributor

1 answer


This answer is responding to Kwang hee Han's comment following Patty's answer.


No, I read and hear the dependent clause as modifying the entire main clause. Consider, you feel the clause "roaring with approval" can be said to modify the verb "leaped." But an argument can also be made that the clause is modifying the subject. For instance, "Roaring with approval, the crowd leaped ..." or "The crowd, roaring with approval, leaped ..." In both those sentences, the clause "feels" more closely associated with the subject. (In fact, in the second example, the dependent clause is a parenthetical that is grammatically tied to the subject.) In a sense, it is because we cannot agree on what is being modified that we say it is the entire main clause that is modified.


So the "when clause" modifies the entire main clause -- at least by definition. And because that is how linguists and grammarians define it, it is wrong to say it only modifies the verb. Finally, as a native speaker, I can't manage to wrap my mind around what it might mean for it to modify only the verb. I just can't divorce the subject from my thoughts.


I hope this helps.

link comment answered Sep 03 '12 at 17:41 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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