I look at her smiling.

From what I know

present participle can be used:

•after verbs of perception [I heard you talking, I heard as you were talking]

•for two actions at the same time [He walked outta the room laughing]

So who's smiling in this context?

She is or I am?


If it were the writer smiling, there should be some punctuation:

I look at her, smiling.

In spoken language, you should be able to "hear" the punctuation in the form of a pause.

As written, without a comma, I would have to assume that she is smiling.

Consider the identically phrased example:

I listen to her singing.

I'm fairly certain you don't have any ambiguity over this - she is singing.

  • 1
    No I don't. Actually I was seeing ‘Smiling’ as a participle adjective in my example as in I look at her happily[smiling] Oct 22 '19 at 14:18

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