Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Using Absolute Phrases

An absolute phrase -- is a modifier generally made from a noun or noun phrase and a participle. It can modify a noun or pronoun or the whole of the base sentence to which it is attached.

e.g - Teeth chattering, we waited for hours in the bitter cold.

Sails flapping, the boat tugged at its mooring.

The participle may be expanded into a participle phrase --

Sails flapping in the brisk morning breeze, the boat tugged at its mooring.

An absolute phrase with other combinations

1). Noun and adverb phrase - Ram sat back comfortable, feet up on the desk.

2). Noun and adjective - Muscles taut, he hefted the barbells to his chest.

3). Noun and adjective phrase - She waved to the crowd, her face radiant with triumph.

4). Noun and adverb - Shoulders hunched, Ronaldo zigzagged past the linebacker.

We can use various absolute phrases in succession - Hair golden, eyes blue, body slender and tanned, he personified the California look.

Note - We can put an absolute phrase at the beginning of a sentence or at the end, setting it off with a comma.

We can also put an absolute phrase in the middle.

e.g - The speaker, his voice trembling with rage, denounced the hecklers. (note the pair of commas)

See the sentence number 14 at the link below