An Introduction to Absolutes


How to construct absolutes

Absoulutes can be made from any of the four BSPs or the passive voice by expanding the verb to an -ing and removing the helping verb.

FOR EXAMPLE: For BSPs 1 and 2, expand the verb to an -ing form and remove the helping verb. Then add a totally new main clause.

His nose was running.
His nose running, Frank looked awful.
For BSPs 3 & 4, take away the linking verb or change it to an ing form.
His mother was a top executive in the company.
His mother being a top executive in the company, Tom felt certain he wouldn't have to begin his career in the mail room.

His hands were blue from the cold.
His hands blue from the cold, Frank huddled over the fire.

All things are equal.
All things being equal, it was a worthwhile trip.

Try transforming a passive voice.
The letter was delayed by the Post Office strike.
The letter having been delayed by the Post Office strike, Tom didn't know that his mother had disinherited him.
Annother way to think of absolutes is to recognize them as consisting of a subject plus one of the clusters, even a prepositional phrase cluster (The cards on the table, there was nothing left to do but to concede defeat.)

How to recognize absolutes

When looking for absolutes, you should look for phrases or clauses that appear to have a subject followed by an -ing phrase or a prepositonal phrase. Look for the -ing word in the following sentence. Is it preceded by a noun acting like a subject?
A gigantic moth, delicate despite its size, alighted on Roberto's shoulder, its wings presenting a near-exact replica of an owl's face, a trick on would-be predators.
So, in this sentence, "its wings presenting a near-exact replica of an owl's face" is an absolute. Look at the absolute in the following sentence. So I had a bad feeling that morning sitting in the military C-130 Hercules, circling over theAmazon, those front propellers whirring overtime against a paint job of jungle camouflage.

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