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He called the Fun Zone, asking to meet the guys from the video.

Hi, I saw that sentence in a tv-series. I suppose I can rewrite it as:

1- "He called the Fun Zone and asked to meet the guys from the video."

What I am wondering is the function of the participle, asking, in that sentence? I think it conveys the purpose of the call.

But these actions are happening in order: First he calls and then asks to meet. I feel like using "asking" like that breaks this order and implies as if these two actions are happening at the same time.

As far as I know participles can be used to give more information about condition, result, reason or time not purpose.

For example this sentence below seems awkward to me:

2- He went to the library, studying for the exam. (To me, it means that he went to the library while studying for the exam or in the process of going to the library, he studied for the exam. Probably He studied for the exam on his way to the library.)

3- He went to the library and studied for the exam. (But this one sounds okay.)

  • 4- He went to the library to study for the exam. – Weather Vane Jul 11 at 19:22
  • 0- He called the Fun Zone to ask for a meeting with the guys in the video. In both sentences I use "to" because the reason for the action follows. – Weather Vane Jul 11 at 19:24
  • But the tv-show didn't use it that way. + that use is common as far as I see. – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 19:41
  • Your question is about how to re-write the sentence. And the guys are not from the video, they are in the video. – Weather Vane Jul 11 at 19:42
  • But I want to know why they use participles that way instead of using "to" or "and + verb" ? That is the real thing I want to know. – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 19:44
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The present participle must relate to the subject of both verbs, i.e. "He called...and he asked...". In your compound sentence there is a participle construction in place of co-ordinate clause. After dropping the co-ordinative conjunction "and" we have "He called..., asking...". And both actions are simultaneous. He couldn't have asked anything having hung up the receiver.

  • But "calling" don't take so much time. You call someone then talk to someone. They are not simultaneous I think- "calling" and "asking". – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 20:27
  • I can say: "Hallo, Mr.Ozden, it's Eugene calling", i.e "...it's Eugene speaking". – Eugene Jul 11 at 20:37
  • Thank you. I think that the first version, using "asking", implies"call" is the main action and "asking" is the secondary action that happens throughout the first action ? – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 20:40
  • The difference between #1 and #2 is that in # 2 there is a clause of purpose-"He went to the library to study", whereas in "He went to the library studying for the exam" we have a co-ordinate clause, i.e."He was studying on his way to the library". In #1 there is no clause of purpose. We also have a co-ordinate clause here. "He was asking during his call" (during his speaking to someone at the Fun Zone). – Eugene Jul 11 at 21:00
  • I am not sure which sentence you refer by saying #1 and #2. Could you clarify that? – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 21:10
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I think you are over-intrpreting.

He called the Fun Zone, asking to meet the guys from the video.

is a perfectly natural expression, and similar constructions are frequently used by fluent speakers. It is obvious that he asked during the call, so there is no need to interpret the grammar as a secondary clue to sequence. One could just as well write:

He called the Fun Zone and asked to meet the guys from the video.

The meaning would, in this case, be the same.

The first form might more strongly suggest that the question was the purpose of the call, but if nothing else about the call is mentioned, that is pretty clearly implied in any case.

The other suggested example:

He went to the library, studying for the exam.

could be interpreted to man that he studied on the trip to the library. But the obvious meaning is that he went to the library, and there studies for the exam. Note that the parallel sentence with the same structure:

He went to the library, talking to his girlfriend.

would by default imply that the talking happened on the trip to the library. The meaning here is not carried primarily by the grammar, but by the context and the likely sequence of events implied by the context. Now if previous context had indicated that the library was in Europe, a 12-hour trip for the character who was in North America, then

He went to the library, studying for the exam.

would imply that he studied on the trip. Its all in the context.

  • Could you explain the obvious meaning of this sentence-He went to the library, studying for the exam- again? Does that mean a- He went to library + he studied for the exam or b- He went to library + library is the place where he studies for the exam. – Talha Özden Jul 11 at 21:33
  • @Talha I would say it means "He went to the library. At the library, he studied for the exam." That meaning could be phrased in quite a few different ways, all with essentially the same meaning. – David Siegel Jul 11 at 21:42

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