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I saw the sentence below in a test passage.

Longer life spans mean more people, worsening food and housing supply difficulties.

Is "worsening food and housing supply difficulties" a participial phrase here?

And I cannot guess what is a subject of "worsening".

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Worsening food is a noun phrase, with head food and participle worsening being used adjectivally to modify food.

Housing supply difficulties is another noun phrase, with three nouns: housing (which is a substantivised gerund) modifies supply, and housing supply modifies difficulties.

There is no participal phrase as I understand the term.

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  • Thank you so much. Now I can see the structure. – jinnyk216 Apr 8 '19 at 19:22
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No. This sentence describes three things that longer life spans lead to: more people, worsening food, and housing supply difficulties. This is one of those situations where an Oxford comma might have made the meaning more clear:

Longer life spans mean more people, worsening food , and housing supply difficulties.

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  • Thank you so much for your post. – jinnyk216 Apr 8 '19 at 19:28

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