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Given arms and hands, a computer can do more varied physical work.

Is the word "given" in the sentence, the past participle or the preposition? Thanks a lot.

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I would tend to see "given arms and hands" as a shortened if-clause with drop of "if". Subordinate clauses can be shortened by means of participle constructions.

To my surprise I find it is not easy to show that "given" is no preposition. Perhaps someone has an idea to solve this problem. Normally a connection of preposition + noun has not the sense of a when/if-clause.

Added: The full subclause would be: "If a computer is given arms and hands ... "

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Given arms and hands, a computer can do more varied physical work.

That given in the quoted sentence is a past participle of verb.

Here given arms and hands is predicated upon the following noun phrase (NP) - a computer.

And so given here is nothing but a past participle of a verb.

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