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Usually when a present participle is modifying a noun, that noun is the subject of the sentence. In this sentence, the modified noun, however, isn't the subject. The sentence sounds a little cumbersome (maybe even off?) to me; but I hope I am wrong.

So I am having a hard time deciding if the participial phrase is grammatical here and fits the meaning I intend.

Sentence A (comma before the participle)

The HR members were impressed by Albert’s range of skills, combining curricular design and innovative teaching methodology.

Sentence B (no comma before the participle)

The HR members were impressed by Albert’s range of skills combining curricular design and innovative teaching methodology.

Here is what I mean to say phrased differently: The HR members were impressed by Albert’s range of skills which combined curricular design and innovative teaching methodology.

I am aware that I can change the phrasing, but for stylistic reasons I want to keep the participle.

  • The phrase is grammatical, as I suspect you already know. This is a question of style (as are most questions regarding the use of the comma). Keep the comma. The pause makes it clear that the phrase refers to range of skills. – P. E. Dant Jun 12 '17 at 4:52
  • @P. E. Dant: Many thanks for the answer (and the edit!). Here is why I am in doubt (and I should have clarified that in the question). Let's change it to "Combining curricular design and innovative teaching methodology, the HR members were impressed by Albert’s range of skills," and that would obviously be ungrammatical (misplaced modifier). Then why would the sentence with the participial phrase at the end be grammatical? – asef Jun 12 '17 at 5:08
  • Without misplacing anything, you could write "Combining curricular design and innovative teaching methodology, Albert's range of skills impressed the HR members." This has the added virtue of being in the active voice. The assumption in English is that a phrase following a comma modifies the last NP before the comma (in this case, "Albert's skills"). Why do you think the placing of the participle phrase in your examples is ungrammatical? Without the comma (as in the second example) the sentence is not exactly felicitous, but neither version is ungrammatical. – P. E. Dant Jun 12 '17 at 5:26

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