In this line,

"Asked why a non­specialist can be entrusted with such work, a local official praises foreign ­ministry volunteers for their promotional skills"

I suppose maybe the writer means When he was asked why.. perhaps something was omitted and the verb asked was therefore at the beginning, what do you called this kind of "omission" grammatically?

  • 3
    It's not necessarily helpful to assume the word when is "missing" in such contexts. It's just a Past Participle used adverbially / adjectivally. No different to, say, Grief-stricken by the death of his wife, he moved back to his homeland. The precise nature of the relationship between that "fronted" adverbial element and the main clause that follows is context-specific. It might effectively be something corresponding to when, but it might be if, or because, or any of several other prepositions / conjunctions. Nov 5 '21 at 16:07
  • 1
    ...note that exactly the same situation arises with continuous participles as well as past participles. For example, Seeking publicity for his department, a local official praises foreign ­ministry volunteers for their promotional skills. Nov 5 '21 at 16:12
  • (Though one could argue—perhaps a bit hair-splittingly—that an adverbial participle does always imply a "when" or "while." "He ran out of the haunted house, scared to death": he ran while scared. "Drunk driving" is driving while drunk. (Well, ok—"he drove drunk," there, now it's adverbial. :-) ) Nov 5 '21 at 16:18

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