I've read in http://profrajappansblog.blogspot.co.ke/2010/10/participial-construction-absolute.html?m=1

It says that absolute construction makes use of absolute phrase. Here, absolute means 'independent' or 'not-related". The subject is always mentioned in absolute phrase, for example 'he being rich', but the subject is never mentioned in participle clause, for example: 'being rich'. The subject of the absolute phrase is always different from those of main clause.

Having read all this, I have now come to realize that absolute construction is related to the participle clause because participle clause having the use of different subjects can also be called 'an absolute construction'

Am i right at the point ? If I'm right,Then, I can say that the following sentences can also be called the absolute construction because the subordinate clauses have the different subjects than those of main clauses.For example:

1.The weather being nice, we decided to go for a picnic.

2.It being a cloudy night, I couldn't see the moon.

3.Saroj being late, I couldn't catch the bus.

4.The teacher being late, we had no school yesterday.

If these sentences are with absolute construction, these sentences can also be called participle clauses having the different subjects.participle with different subjects

2 Answers 2


A participle clause is called "absolute" only when it has no syntactic relationship to its matrix clause—when it plays no role in the syntax of the matrix clause but is just tacked on somewhere. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls such clauses "supplements".

John being late, we cancelled the meeting.

But a participle clause with its own explicit subject may play other syntactic roles within its matrix clause: it may be the subject of the matrix clause (SUBJ below), or its direct or indirect object (DO and IO below), or the object ("oblique") of a preposition (OBL below):

SUBJJohn being late caused our meeting to be cancelled.
A lot of us resented DOJohn being late.
The manager is giving IOJohn being late a lot of attention.
She's pretty annoyed by OBLJohn being late.

These participle clauses are not absolute clauses; they have specific syntactic roles within their matrix clauses. Thus, absolute clauses are a subset of participle clauses.

A 'matrix clause' is a clause which is 'above' another clause: superordinate to a subordinate clause.

  • @stoneyBwhat about the examples sentences I've quoted in my question? Absoulate construction is grammatically correct? Is it used in formal writing only?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:02
  • I'm also not understanding the terms you quoted syntactic relation, matrix clause, I hope you'd edit your answer
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:08
  • ,I'Ve also heard that an absolute clause doesn't have to have verb in it, isn't it true?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:13
  • Thank you, i got it, and what about syntactic roles?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:24
  • ,If the subject of a subordinate clause or participle clause and a main clause are different, can I call it to have abosolute construction?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 2:38

Your examples all would be called "absolute constructions" because there is a subject stated in the clause and it is different from the main clause's subject.

A participle clause has (implicitly) the same subject as the main clause.

Being too tired to walk quickly, I missed the bus

The key is the subject is presumed to be the same. For example (from your link):

Walking in the grass , a snake bit her

The phrase "walking" in the grass would be interpreted to be describing the snake and sounds weird as a result.

  • If they(sentences) are with absolute construction, what about the participle clause with different subjects? Is it the same as absolute construction?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:09
  • We don't typically call a clause with a different subject a "participle clause". It's only called a participle clause when it has the same subject.
    – eques
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .