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Read the following sentence

He played the game , knowing that they'd lose.

Here the subject of the highlighted phrase is the subject of the main sentence (ie 'he' is the subject) . Generally, for the participle phrases, subject of the main sentence is their subject , but i came across tho today in an article. Read the following

The theme of a story can be conveyed using characters,setting, dialogue, plot, or a combination of all of these elements.

Here the gerund participle phrase doesn't seem to be modifying the subject ('Theme'). It is rather modifying the agent that performs the action (the agent is although not given) . I don't know how to know what is the subject of the participle phrases used in passive sentences . I am asking this because in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. According to this ,'theme' is the subject in the second sentence .When a participle phrase is used in passive sentences like i did in the second sentence , the subject of the passive voice is also the subject of the participle phrase, but the second sentence doesn't follow that.How do I know what is the subject of the participle phrase phrase when it is used in passive voice .

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  • Gerunds do not necessarily have a subject. Sometimes, there is an implied subject (as in your first example), but sometimes there isn't (as in your second example).
    – apdnu
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:13
  • This is what I want to know. So the second sentence is a passive voice .'Theme' is the subject there , but it is not for the gerund phrase . What i want to know is that when I use gerund phrases in passive sentences like i did in the second one , how to find it's subject
    – Bla Bbaa
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:18
  • I asking this because in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. According to this ,'theme' is the subject in the second sentence .When a gerund phrase is used in passive sentences like i did in the second sentence , the subject of the passive voice is also the subject of the gerund phrase, but the second sentence doesn't follow that ; how do I know what is the subject of the gerund phrase when it is used in passive voice
    – Bla Bbaa
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:35
  • Neither of those sentence contains what is traditionally called a gerund: in both cases the -ing is a participle.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:36
  • I know it's a participle , but the man i was replying to in the comments took it as gerunds , so i used it
    – Bla Bbaa
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 13:38

1 Answer 1

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There are two ways you could view this example.

The most obvious way to read this, and probably the correct way, is simply that the subject(he) is doing two things at the same time.

A comparable example:

He cleaned the kitchen, listening to music.

Rather than say "he cleaned the kitchen and listened to music", this expresses that one was done while the other was being done. It could be written as:

He cleaned the kitchen while listening to music.

In your example, you could say "he played the game while knowing that they would lose".

However, I think it could also be viewed as an adverbial phrase describing the manner in which he played the game, in which case the 'subject' you are looking for is actually the verb played, as an adverb or adverbial phrase acts on a verb.

A comparable example:

He looked at his cards, knowingly.

In this example, he is giving a 'knowing look'.

It could be that the foreknowledge he would lose made him play differently, although there is nothing in the text that directly implies that.

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