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Always the more indulgent parent, the children were caught off guard when their dad implemented such a restrictive curfew.

The first part of the sentence ('always the more indulgent parent') seems odd to me, so I can't grasp what the speaker intended to say. Could you please dumb this sentence down and preferably explain the use of this first part?

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    The text is syntactically invalid. An initial parenthetical adverbial element applies to the first noun phrase that follows - which should be their dad, not the children. Jan 13, 2023 at 11:45

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The first part of the sentence gives background information about the 'dad' in the sentence. It could have been written parenthetically, like this:

The children were caught off guard when their dad (who was always the more indulgent parent) implemented such a restrictive curfew.

I understand this to mean that the dad was more indulgent in comparison to the children's mother, perhaps more generous and less restrictive towards the children, and that's why it was so surprising to them when he gave them a strict curfew.

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  • Thanks, now this sentence makes sense. Jan 13, 2023 at 10:32
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    I find it a badly-written sentence, because the reader expects the phrase at the beginning to describe the subject, but the subject is 'the children'. Either it should begin "As he was always the more indulgent parent...", or he should be the subject - "Dad caught the children off-guard...". Jan 13, 2023 at 10:37
  • @KateBunting I wouldn't judge it without the wider context. It wouldn't be so bad if the previous sentence had the dad as the subject. Especially if it were on a more personal level, then this sentence could be seen as the father's objective view of his own relationship to his children. It would be like me talking about my own children and how they think of 'their father', meaning their view of my role as father.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 13, 2023 at 10:45

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