In this sentence:

China has defied the sceptics because its state capitalism has adapted, changing shape.

Should there be an "and" between "adapted" and "changing"? If I'm wrong, please explain.

  • 1
    Please include a source for the sentence you are asking about.
    – Eddie Kal
    Sep 3, 2021 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


There's nothing wrong with the sentence as written. "Changing shape" is a dependent clause that modifies the main verb "adapted." It's comparable to these sentences:

  • "He walked down the street, whistling and swinging his arms." (Whistling and swinging happen along with the walking and add detail.)
  • "He crouched, ducking low." ("Ducking low" means the same thing as "crouch"; it explains or defines the main verb. This is similar to the usage in your example, in which "changing shape" helps explain what is meant by "adapted.")

The somewhat awkward thing in the example sentence is actually "changing shape." This is used metaphorically; an economy doesn't have an actual shape. Without any other nearby language using the same metaphor, it seems an odd choice. You could extend the "shape" metaphor: "... has adapted, changing its shape to fit its restrictions." Or you could choose language that doesn't imply physical shape so strongly:

  • "... has adapted, changing to suit the circumstances."
  • "... has adapted, transforming into something new."

or similar, depending on the idea you want to emphasize.

  • I've been scratching my head over this. Thank you, Andy. With your explanation and examples, it's totally clear to me.
    – mark
    Sep 3, 2021 at 20:33

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