Which is the main clause and why? "I do not want to help my mom in the kitchen anymore" or " my eyes started to cry" (the punctuation is just like the original)

Since I am not convinced about an answer I received previously, and did not want to continue arguing, I think the answer to this question might convince me (the following appears in a test).

"I do not want to help my mom in the kitchen anymore, this morning while_________ onions, my eyes started to cry."
a. peeling
b. I was peeling
c. peel
d. was peeling

  • 1
    That's not a single sentence... That's two sentences that someone has used a comma between instead of using a period.
    – Catija
    May 5, 2016 at 17:22
  • Thank you, Catija! I had thought about that mistake, too. Now, everything is clearer!
    – lalynacar.
    May 5, 2016 at 17:28
  • 1
    Note that you could use a colon or semicolon instead of a comma, and that would make it grammatically correct.
    – Era
    May 5, 2016 at 17:41
  • Thanks, Era. I only knew about a possible period or semi colon.
    – lalynacar.
    May 5, 2016 at 17:54
  • "My eyes started to cry" seems an odd way of phrasing it. I would say either "my eyes started to water" or "I started to cry".
    – nnnnnn
    May 23, 2016 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


1: There are two independent clauses and one dependent clause in your sentence. You have to use either semicolon or end period, if you are using two independent clauses.

2: Right answer is "I was peeling"

I do not want to help my mom in the kitchen anymore; this morning while I was peeling onions, my eyes started to cry.

  • Is there any reason why "peeling" can't be the right answer?
    – user24743
    May 23, 2016 at 12:25
  • 2
    @Rathony - because that would mean that it was the eyes doing the peeling...
    – nnnnnn
    May 23, 2016 at 12:28
  • Can human's eyes peel onions?
    – user24743
    May 23, 2016 at 12:29
  • @Rathony - Of course not, but grammatically that is what it would mean. All four answers result in a sentence that is understandable, but this is a grammar question. You could say "...while peeling onions, I found my eyes started to..."
    – nnnnnn
    May 23, 2016 at 12:34
  • Grammatically, there are many participial clauses where subjects are omitted when they are contextually obvious or could be inferred/identified without looking at the subject of the main clause. I think it is better to explain this to learners and I would not use the construction "I found my eyes started to..."
    – user24743
    May 23, 2016 at 12:50

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