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To perform this pose, they rest on their legs while positioned wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse.

I am not sure whether this use is grammatically correct. Is it okay?

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It's a correct sentence. It's a small version of "To perform this pose, they rest on their legs while those(legs) were positioned wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse.

  • Thanks. I could understand the full version of the sentence but it seems kind of wrong to me. As far as I know if you want to reduced the "while part" of a sentence, subjects of the clauses must be the same (subject of the main clause,and subject of the while clause). But here they are different, one subject is "they"(talking about models) the other is "legs". I think we need comma here because it is unclear that who or what is positioned. As in "To perform this pose, they rest on their legs, while positioned wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse." – Talha Özden Jun 12 at 10:16
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It's grammatical—but it's confusing.

Stylistically, a better phrasing would be:

To perform this pose, they rested on their legs, which were positioned wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse.

Note that I changed one of the verb tenses into the past for consistency as well as the relative pronoun.


An alternative phrasing would be to put all of the verb tenses into the present:

To perform this pose, they rest on their legs, which are positioned wide apart, as if they are straddling an invisible horse.


In both of the past- and present-tense versions, however, while positioned (in the original) is odd, because it makes it sound as if the people were positioned wide apart. (In other words, there was a lot of space between each person.) It's possible that's the intended meaning, although it at least seems that the referent is their legs rather than each person. Regardless of the intended meaning, the sentence, as it's originally written, has an ambiguous interpretation.

To restate it in what I think is the less common interpretation (and picking just the past-tense version):

To perform this pose, they rested on their legs, while positioning themselves wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse.


Note, too, my use of commas in my first two versions. Because the sentence uses on their legs, I followed it with while rather than that. For that to be used, their should be removed:

To perform this pose, they rested on legs that were positioned wide apart, as if they were straddling an invisible horse.


In short, while the original version is not actually ungrammatical, the use of while positioned is awkward and somewhat ambiguous. For clarity, it should be rephrased.

  • Thank you for clarification. By the way, I couldn't understand your " however" usage above? Would you explain it to me? I don't see the contrasting parts there. – Talha Özden Jun 12 at 18:06
  • @TalhaÖzden You can simply ignore however if you like. It's not essential to the sentence. – Jason Bassford Jun 12 at 20:11

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