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Is this an example of a nominative absolute phrase?

There was a stall that sold masks in the local market on Sunday mornings. He looked at many different masks. Most of them, too outlandish, he rejected out of hand.

[A wrinkle in the realm by Ben Okri]

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    No: An absolute is a non-finite clause containing a subject and functioning as a supplementary adjunct, as in "[His hands gripping the door], he let out a volley of curses". Your example is one of the preposing of the object of "rejected".
    – BillJ
    Feb 4, 2021 at 11:36
  • And one more thing about these so-called absolutes: While it's okay to say Dagger in hand, he rushed forward to assault the man, is it also okay to say John absent, we decided to cancel the meeting? All I'm doing is omitting being from both examples, but the John example doesn't sound correct to me. Why is that?
    – user126190
    Feb 4, 2021 at 12:35
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    "John absent, ..." is the verbless analogue of "John being absent ...".
    – BillJ
    Feb 4, 2021 at 12:49
  • @BillJ can a verbless clause be an Absolute construction? And in sentence like this "with the machine still running, it is about time to get this done.", is "with the machine still running" an absolute construction? Or "the machine still running" an absolute construction? Oct 18, 2021 at 13:43
  • @Man_From_India Yes, I believe that "John absent" qualifies as an absolute. Absolutes are always non-finite clauses, and since "with the machine still running" is a preposition phrase, not a clause, I believe that it does not qualify as an absolute.
    – BillJ
    Oct 18, 2021 at 15:17

1 Answer 1

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No, it isn't an example of a nominative absolute phrase. It is an example of a parenthetical clause. You could remove the part of the sentence between the commas and it would still make sense:

  • Most of them he rejected out of hand.

The fact that they are 'too outlandish' is presented as additional information which is not necessary to the sentence.

A nominative absolute phrase is a non-finite clause (not phrase) that contains a subject and functions as a supplementary adjunct, for example:

  • Most of them being too outlandish, he rejected many out of hand.
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    It would be preferable to define an absolute as a non-finite clause (not phrase) that contains a subject and functions as a supplementary adjunct.
    – BillJ
    Feb 4, 2021 at 12:45
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    @BillJ That's certainly a more technical description, I've updated it as you suggest, I hope the OP understands it.
    – Astralbee
    Feb 4, 2021 at 12:52

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