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I came across the sentence below as I was reading the New York Times.

I would like to know how holding boisterous protests and inspiring more and more young people works in this sentence.

Please explain it to me, thank you.

> As P.T.M. has grown, holding boisterous protests and inspiring more and more young people, the government has cracked down viciously, arresting some of its leaders and firing on unarmed demonstrators, according to witnesses.

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    It's the same as, for example, As he sat motionless, holding his breath, the tiger walked across his garden.. Everything before the second comma is a (syntactically optional) "adverbial clause" - but within that, the highlighted words are a kind of "subordinate adverbial (sub)clause". I'm saying "subordinate" because it refers back to the "secondary" subject he (only relevant to the adverbial clause itself, as opposed to the "primary" subject of the sentence, the tiger). In your example, PTM is the secondary subject ("the government" being the primary subject). – FumbleFingers Jul 27 '19 at 12:37
  • I can’t thank you enough!! Merci beaucoup 😭 – Jasmine Kuo Jul 27 '19 at 12:56
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    I've only commented (not posted an actual "Answer") because I don't know the right terminology here (that's why I used lots of "scare quotes"). But it seems to me exactly the same "subordinate sub-clause within an existing subordinate clause" occurs again at the end of your example, with according to witnesses referring back to the adverbial clause arresting some of its leaders and firing on unarmed demonstrators rather than to the primary assertion the government has cracked down viciously. – FumbleFingers Jul 27 '19 at 13:07
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As P.T.M. has grown, [holding boisterous protests and inspiring more and more young people], the government has cracked down viciously, arresting some of its leaders and firing on unarmed demonstrators, according to witnesses.

The commas mark the bracketed element as a supplementary depictive adjunct. Supplements are loosely attached expressions set off by intonation (and usually punctuation, as here) presenting supplementary, non-integrated content. It's depictive in that it refers to P.T.M (the predicand).

Supplements are not modifiers; rather, they have a semantic 'anchor' that they relate to. Here, the anchor is the preceding preposition phrase "As P.T.M. has grown".

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  • Thank you so so so much! I found two more relevant answers that you wrote a few years back. They’re really helpful as well. There’s another question I’d like to ask you though: Where did you learn all these? I just plowed through all the grammar/writing guide books that I have but failed to find any explanations regarding supplements. Not even the word itself.😭 – Jasmine Kuo Jul 28 '19 at 2:44
  • Here’s the links of the aforesaid answers: english.stackexchange.com/questions/483060/… – Jasmine Kuo Jul 28 '19 at 2:47
  • englishforums.com/English/… – Jasmine Kuo Jul 28 '19 at 2:48
  • Forgot to ask, is “holding .....” a truncated phrase of a relative clause? If it is, what is the original one? – Jasmine Kuo Jul 28 '19 at 3:01
  • You need to buy The Cambridge Grammar of The English Language, by Huddleston & Pullum. Not cheap but worth every penny. There's some info here: link. – BillJ Jul 28 '19 at 5:41

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