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Pull the suture through the skin, pulling the catheter into the stomach.

Excise the necrotic tissue, leaving actively bleeding tissue.

I had a question like this before. How else can we write the sentences ? Why ?

By pulling the suture .......,pull the catheter....... ??

For example : 1-) Excise the necrotic tissue, '' by'' leaving actively bleeding tissue. ( it is illogical ) 2-) This is not a cause and effect sentence

I couldn't understand it and I couldn't find it in any grammar book. but I see such expressions a lot in academic books.

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  • This will probably be closed as a duplicate. Pulling the suture has the effect of pulling the catheter. The surgeon must cut away the dead tissue until they come to living tissue which is bleeding, which of course they must leave as it is. Commented May 20, 2023 at 11:44

2 Answers 2

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The exact relationship between the participle clause and the main clause is not explicit and must be understood from context.

It does mean "at the same time". In the first example I'd assume (not knowing much about surgery) that by pulling the suture through the skin has the immediate effect of pulling the catheter into the stomach. Or it may be that the surgeon should pull the suture while pulling the catheter. Since these are not contrasting you could say "pull the suture through the skin and (?thereby?) pull the catheter into the stomach.

In the second case, it also means "at the same time" The surgeon should excise the necrotic tissue, while leaving the living and bleeding tissue. Since these are contrastive, you could also say "excise the necrotic tissue, but leave the bleeding tissue.

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  • I'm not sure about In the second case, it also means "at the same time". That implies OP's two examples are essentially "the same". But to my mind, pulling in #1 means which pulls, whereas leaving in #2 means while leaving. It wouldn't make much difference if #2 had which leaves, but while pulling would significantly affect the meaning of #1, so the two cases aren't exactly the same, Commented May 20, 2023 at 12:15
  • In a sense they are essentially the same. They are both an imperative main clause and a present participle clause. The present participle indicates that the second action/event is simultaneous with the first, but the exact nature or reason for that is undetermined by the grammar, and must be inferred from context.
    – James K
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 12:30
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    Yes, I understand that from one perspective, they are "the same". But that's structurally, not semantically - and the ambiguity only really arises with the "bare" present participle. If there is any risk of that ambiguity genuinely presenting the reader with a problem - and let's face it, no-one normally writes text like this for a target audience of non-Anglophone readers! :) - the ambiguity is easily resolved by switching to which pulls and while leaving. Commented May 20, 2023 at 12:43
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This is how academics translated it in my own language:

Excise the necrotic tissue, leaving actively bleeding tissue.

By excising the necrotic ....,leave actively.....

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  • Perhaps that would be better as an edit to your question or a comment on the question.
    – James K
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 12:59
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 14:43

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