I'm always confused with this type of clause - I wake up feeling tired, I went home trying to sleep etc.

I am always confused when and how to use this type of clause (please correct me and let me know the terminology of this). For example I am now trying to write something: The work of this project takes under the form of "release", which can be further broken down into "sprints" lasting for 3 week each.

What I am trying to say is the progress of work is counted using terminology called "release", which is further broken down into "sprints" and each "sprint" last for 3 weeks.

  • Welcome to ELL, Priscilla. What exactly is your question? What do you want to know?
    – JavaLatte
    May 22, 2018 at 12:48
  • 1
    Your made-up terminology (involving creative metaphorical redefinition of the words release and sprint) might be confusing in and of itself. But syntactically your options for the specified context include "sprints" each lasting for 3 weeks, ...that each last 3 weeks, ...which each last 3 weeks - where the word each can optionally be moved to the end (after weeks) as a matter of stylistic preference. They're all equivalent and interchangeable, and there's no "objective" standard implying that any one is "better" or "worse" than any other. May 22, 2018 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


The question seems to be about the difference between gerund phrases and restricted relative clauses.

The work breaks down into sprints lasting three weeks each.

The sentence can also be written as:

The work breaks down into sprints that last three weeks each.

The first sentence uses the form of a gerund phrase that goes with sprints. The second uses a relative clause. The semantic meaning is the same. Therefore, ít is useful to try and write you sentence with a that clause and then see if it makes sense as a gerund. In this example, the gerund form is for an action verb.

feeling tired, seeming rested, looking good, sounding awful, tasting sweet are all gerund phrases used as stative or copular verbs or sense verbs. (This is a simplification.) They can all be made into sentences: I feel tired; He seemed rested; They looked good; You sound awful; It tastes sweet.

In their gerund form, they can be used as adverbs:

I went home feeling tired. [feeling tired describes in what condition, or how, I went home.]

She sat on the couch looking exhausted. [How she looked while sitting on the couch]

The child rode his bicycle down the street looking great. [how he looked riding his bicycle]

He left the house seeming rested but then realized he was tired later. [how he seemed leaving the house.]

Phrases that describe how some action is performed are adverbial phrases.

"I went home trying to sleep" is grammatical but does not make sense because it would mean you were trying to sleep while you went home.

"I went home and tried to sleep".

  • Ah, but perhaps the person who "went home trying to sleep" was a passenger in a car who really was trying to sleep on the way home. ;) May 22, 2018 at 14:38
  • @JasonBassford You are right. That said, it's often difficult to provide every single stretch, as it were. Right? :) He went home trying to sleep in the car but etc.
    – Lambie
    May 22, 2018 at 14:42

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