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My earliest childhood memory is of the swaying limbs of Golden Delicious apple trees. Rows of them stood next to a dirt road that separated our orchard from the front yard.

The Kentucky summer sky hung hot behind those high twigs, their leaves leathery green on top, soft as down underneath.

Frank Browning,“Sweet Temptation,” Reader’s Digest

The word in the sentence is: high twigs

The effective word in the phrase is: their leaves

I think the phrase, without a participle, is still absolute. Do you agree?

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    In both cases, being is omitted, which is usual for absolute phrases. – whitedevil Jul 26 '16 at 15:54
  • Yes, it's the verbless analogue of "their leaves being leathery green on top, soft as down underneath". The clause is functioning as a supplementary adjunct. Note, though, that it is a clause, not a phrase. – BillJ Jul 26 '16 at 16:20
  • Weird, that the sky is behind not above. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 27 '16 at 1:31
  • @BillJ add your comment as the answer? – Sam Feb 7 '19 at 6:56
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Absolute phrases can omit the verb, especially where it is to be. The verb is then implicit. Putting the omitted, implicit verb back into that absolute phrase gets you:

"their leaves being leathers green on top, soft as down underneath"

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  • This answer contains no new information compared to the comments, but adding it here as an answer may allow it stop being categorised as 'unanswered'. – SamBC Feb 20 '19 at 21:59
  • Could you please give me an example of participle? – a.RR Feb 21 '19 at 8:42
  • Participles are verb forms used in forming different verb aspects. English has two sorts of participle, past participle (for the perfect aspect) and the progressive participle, also known as the present participle or continuous participle (for the progressive aspect). For regular verbs, the past participle is generally formed with -ed and the progressive participle with -ing. "I have showered", "I am talking". – SamBC Feb 21 '19 at 9:10

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