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I remember I was taught in school that if the verb follows while its subject may not share the same suject with the main clause. For illustration, in the following example:

While John was sleeping last night, someone stole his car.

I can paraphrase it into this form:

John's car(or the car of John) was stolen, while sleeping last night.

I don't know if it would be native but it's just an instantiation. The noun premodifier is the subject but for the following clause the subject is the noun adjunct of the subject in the main clause.

Am I right? I mean can the structure of the sentence be that robust? What is the related grammar?

  • John dreamed while sleeping, same subject after while. We don't exactly repeat a proper noun subject (so John dreamed while John was sleeping is "weird"), but we can freely use pronouns, so John dreamed while he was sleeping is syntactically and idiomatically fine. Your paraphrasing is not fine though - if unspecified, the subject must be that of the preceding clause (John's car, which obviously couldn't be "sleeping"! :) – FumbleFingers Apr 10 at 16:27
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    John's car was stolen while he was sleeping last night. Without the pronoun, it sounds like it was the car that was sleeping. This is an example of a dangling participle. (And the comma may or may not be needed, depending on if John's sleeping is essential to what you're saying.) – Jason Bassford Apr 10 at 20:26

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