Often times I don't have any problem with interpreting or speaking but I do wonder about the function of this reduction. The example sentence is as follows;

You can have all the beer you want then, assuming you buy it yourself.

In the second part after the coma, what is ASSUMİNG function? I can't separate the construction as a subj verb etc. I don't think it is a gerund but i usually come across with that structure.

  • I assume the coma was induced by a surfeit of beer. In my opinion, “assuming” is by definition a participle. But there is an idiomatic use of the specific participle “assuming” to mean “if.” The participle is being used like a conjunction. Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 19:00
  • Dear Jeff, thank you for your contribution. I suppose the reason for the coma being there is to prevent any confusion that might be caused by the conjunctive "then" being before the participle. I think rather than trying to categorize the participle as adverbial or st, to conclude this has been used as "participle as a conjunction" is the best choice. Isn't it?
    – Ozzy
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 20:30
  • I was making a joke. You wrote “COMA” when you meant “comma.” Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 23:41
  • 😀😀 Educatory one
    – Ozzy
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


It is a participle. In fact many modern grammars don't distinguish between "gerund" and "participle". A gerund is just a participle or particple phrase that is the subject or object of a verb etc.

However, here there is little doubt. A noun in this position could only be a vocative. (You can have the beer, Joe) And you can't address the act of assuming. So assuming isn't a gerund. It is a participle and the object of the participle is the object clause "you buy it yourself"

The word "then" is a conversational element, conjunctive and carrying the sense of "in that case". It has very little meaning out of context.

You could paraphrase in two sentences:

In that case, you can have all the beer you want. I am assuming you buy it yourself.

  • Thanks a lot for your contribution, James. I think the correct form should have been done as follows; "You can have all the beer assuming you buy it yourself if you want then." I deduced it by making the participle phrase define the beer. What would you think about that?
    – Ozzy
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 15:35
  • Your reordering makes no sense. This participle phrase doesn't describe or define the beer. See my paraphrase in two sentences. Perhaps you are getting confused by the "then". This is one of the fairly meaningless conjunctive elements in conversation. It means "In that case, you can have all the beer you want." Whcih refers to the situation and the wider context.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 17:41
  • You are right, I was getting confused about the conjunctive then. Thank you for the clarification. If you were to pick one of the participle types, would you classify it as an adverbial participle in that case? As far as I know, there are 2 types of them containing adverbial, and adjective.
    – Ozzy
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 18:07
  • Adverbial, in some generic sense. I'm not sure that I like the categories very much, but this isn't a participle phrase describing a noun, but a participle phrase giving extra information about the situation.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 18:38

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