What is the subject of paving? 'Adidas?' or 'a landmark deal with Adidas?' I thought 'a landmark deal with Adidas', however, one of my friends told that 'Adidas' is the subject. I want to know how to explain this grammatically.

In the mid-80s, hip-hop group Run-DMC signed a landmark deal with Adidas paving the way for many more lucrative partnerships between shoe makers and artists.

Here is the web reference

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    It was the fact that "hip-hop group Run-DMC signed a landmark deal" that paved the way for more lucrative partnerships. So Adidas is not the subject. It didn't do the paving; the landmark deal did. :-)
    – ralph.m
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 2:15
  • IF there was a comma after ...a landmark deal then Adidas would indeed be the subject of the verb paving. The net meaning wouldn't really be changed, though - just the syntactic constructions. Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 2:19
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    "Paving the way for ..." is a supplementary result adjunct, and as such is not a modifier but a supplement. Its 'anchor' is the whole of the clause that precedes it. A comma after "Adidas" would be helpful.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 6:17
  • A way to see @BillJ’s point is to consider that if we split the sentence in two just before paving, then the new sentence could start with “This paved…” or “This deal paved…” or “This event, paved…,” but not with “They paved…” Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 10:34


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