I am working on a project, and I am faced with a sentence that I am unsure is correct. I can make it correct with proper punctuation, but it just made me curious to learn how to use such sentences appropriately with different punctuation. The sentence in question is bolded below:

"He is another example of immortality. His body holding the ability to survive anything."

Is this a correct sentence without adding "is holding" or writing "holds?" If so, what is this sentence structure called, as it appears to omit the auxiliary verb "to be?" I could bypass it by using a comma, but I am curious. In my head, this sentence has the same structure of sentences such as:

"What do you see? - A woman holding a baby."

It appears to be a continuous sentence but without the auxiliary verb. It's not gerund, at least I don't think it is. Any help is appreciated!

  • 1
    Neither of your bolded examples are complete sentences - they are noun phrases. Mar 15, 2021 at 13:04
  • 2
    It's important to note that a woman holding a baby isn't a "sentence" - it's a noun phrase. It's just that in your cited context (someone being asked what they see), it's possible to reply with only the noun phrase, rather than the "full sentence" complete with "subject" and "verb" for which that noun phrase is the "object": I see a woman holding a baby. Mar 15, 2021 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


It's a present participle used adjectivally - a concept gramatically a little similar to a gerund in that it's an -ing form of a verb that's (in this case) not used as a verb to form a continuous tense, but where gerunds function as nouns, participles such as the ones in your examples function as adjectives.

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