The following passage comes from a New York Times article:

Several days ago, additional actresses began sharing with The Times on-the-record stories of casting-couch abuses. Their accounts hint at the sweep of Mr. Weinstein’s alleged harassment, "targeting" women on the way to stardom, those who had barely acted and others in between. Fantasies that the public eagerly watched onscreen, the women recounted, sometimes masked the dark experiences of those performing in them.

I can't figure out the subject of "targeting".

What's the difference between "~ harassment, targeting ~" (<- with comma) and "~ harassment targeting ~" ? (<- without comma)

Is the sentence "targeting women ~~ in between" a participial construction?


Does the relative pronoun "which is" omit?

Thank you in advance.

  • His harassment was directed towards women on the way to stardom. The participial phrase applies to harassment; it presents a characteristic of the noun it follows. It could be paraphrased, "which targeted..." but the non-finite version is safer in situations involving an allegation. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 11 '17 at 12:16

Their accounts hint at the sweep of Mr. Weinstein’s alleged harassment, ["targeting" women on the way to stardom] ...

The bracketed expression is a gerund-participial clause functioning as a supplement to "harassment". Like most non-finite clauses, it is subjectless, though the subject is understood as "Mr Weinstein": we understand that it was Mr Weinstein's targeting women ... that constituted the alleged harassment.

Most supplements are easily identified as such by the possibility of inserting an 'indicator' like "namely" or "that is" between the semantic 'anchor' and its supplement, e.g. 'Mr. Weinstein’s alleged harassment, namely, "targeting" women on the way to stardom ...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.