Newcomer's here and like most other users my desire to find out more about English grammar, as in their usage and structure, brought me here. I'm looking forward to working with you all in the future, cheers.

This is what my friend asked me and he gave out the following examples:

  1. Facebook's new feature translates your post into different languages depending on who's reading it.

  2. Depending on what Duncan decides, Pau Gasol could be the answer for the Spurs.

  3. Kremlin: Russia will ease sanctions on Turkey depending on talks outcome

Now I know that you are supposed to use the present participle form here, any other form just sound strange, but the thing is, I don't know how to explain the word placement, because that phrase is so commonly used, we sort of using it without questioning its property.So is the phrase depending on modify and if it modify a whole sentence, what should we called it and why must it be in the present participle form, grammatically speaking of course.

And correct me if I'm wrong but on the following phrase:

If viewed from the distance, the mountain is beautiful.

the subject of the word viewed is also the mountain, right?

  • Few things need to modify. First of all, depending on is by themselves in not a phrase. Secondly, depending on what Duncan decides, depending on who's reading it or depending on talks etc as used in your sentences are not Participle Phrase. They are Preposition Phrase, and depending on in these examples are Compound Preposition. Feb 26, 2017 at 5:11
  • There is another way of analyzing it. depending is a preposition and it takes a Preposition Phrase headed by on. Feb 26, 2017 at 5:18
  • Depending on functions as a conditional, and is interchangeable with 'subject to ….; 'according to …; 'based on …' etc. Example, "Russia will ease sanctions on Turkey depending on talks outcome" has the clause a) Russia will ease sanctions on Turkey... and b) talks outcome (NP). Therefore, these are rather conjunctions than prepositional phrases.
    – Ram Pillai
    May 19, 2020 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


WordReference.com licenses such constructions:

Depending on the weather, I may go camping this weekend.

Some may argue that this is a misplaced modifier error, but it is an idiomatic usage (210 000 Google hits for "depending on the weather, we") , and the context in this example precludes the possibility of 'depending on the weather' modifying 'I'. The re-ordering

I may go camping this weekend, depending on the weather.

may be preferred by some.

An obvious paraphrase is

I may go camping this weekend; this will depend on the weather.

So it is obvious that what is 'depending on the weather' is 'this', [my decision about] whether or not I go camping. It's the whole content of the main clause that is being referenced.

With a similar typical example from the internet

On the weekends, most Americans can be found in either jeans or shorts, depending on the weather.

it is quite clear that a similar paraphrase

On the weekends, most Americans can be found in either jeans or shorts (which of these will depend on the weather).

is again available. The content of the whole main clause is again referenced.

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