The fictional character is the master, the writer his apprentice. (Jose Saramago)

What is the name of that phrase grammatically? Is it an absolute phrase or reduced relative cluase with different subject from the main cluase?

I think the meaning of the sentence I quoted is:

The fictional character is the master and at the same time, the writer is his apprentice.

I have one more question, can I add "being" in that phrase?

The fictional character is the master, the writer being his apprentice.


I don't think it's a reduced relative clause, nor it is an absolute phrase, because the subject of the second part is different from the subject of the first part. It's more like two separate sentences stuck together, except the second sentence is incomplete because it is missing the verb. This is apparent if we change the comma to a semicolon:

The fictional character is the master; the writer (is) his apprentice.

You can use "being" to make the second part more of an adjective clause modifying "master", but it sounds a little forced. As written it's unusual but natural and even elegant.

Keep in mind that Jose Saramago wrote in Portuguese, and you are reading a translation. The translator might be doing her best to imitate the style of the original text, even when the resulting English phrase sounds odd or ungrammatical.

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