I'm trying to understand the meaning of these sentences but I can't. For example:

She hurried out the door, taking her coat with her.


Disappointed, they turned back, leaving a number of oxygen bottles behind.

As far as I understand through Translate it's a meaning like "by taking", "by leaving". But the another point I don't understand is when does it have a meaning like "by + gerund"? Or Does every gerund after comma mean such a meaning like this?

  • Both things happened at the same time. When she left, she took her coat with her. When they turned back, they left the bottles. Nov 6, 2021 at 16:26
  • Does it have also same meaning with "by + gerund"?
    – user123960
    Nov 6, 2021 at 16:53
  • 1
    I was intending to show that it doesn't mean by + gerund. Taking your coat isn't a way of leaving the room. Nov 6, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


These are participial clauses, not gerund clauses. taking her coat with her is modifying "she", with the participle taking and its complements.

Syntactically, it's no different from an adjectival phrase, eg She hurried out the door, angry with me; it's just that the adjective in question happens to be a participle.

  • Can it be said that it is same with "by + gerund"?
    – user123960
    Nov 6, 2021 at 16:54
  • 1
    No. Sometimes the meaning will be close enough, but often it will be different. A participial phrase is an incidental description of what they were doing, being, feeling, sensing at the time, and need have no thematic connection to the main clause. A by-gerund clause says something about what they were doing, feeling, being in order to achieve the main clause.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:20
  • I'd say that although "taking her coat with her" is related to the subject "she", it is not modifying "she", but is a modifier in clause structure, i.e. in the VP. It's a depictive adjunct giving descriptive information about the referent of "she". In order to be a modifier of "she", it would have to be located within the subject NP, whereas it's actually located within the VP. In "She hurried out the door, angry with me", I'd say that the AdjP "angry with me" is a predicative adjunct, a loosely attached element, more specifically a 'supplement', not part of the matrix VP.
    – BillJ
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:52
  • @BillJ: I think you're right.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 6, 2021 at 19:01

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