I was looking over some information about absolute phrases because of a recent discussion. Essentially an absolute phrase consists of a noun and a participle.
His worries causing him to lose sleep, Devin began to have trouble staying awake at work.
She almost did not get home, her car running low on gas.
The absolute phrase modifies the independent clause or sentence, so they are sentence modifiers. Sometimes,the absolute phrase may have the more important information from the sentence in it.
The absolute phrase can be made by removing the helping verb from an independent clause connected to another independent clause. Also, the connecting word, either a subordinator or coordinating conjunction, would also be removed. So the first sentence could have been written as
His worries were causing him to lose sleep, so Devin began to have trouble staying awake at work.
By making the first clause into an absolute phrase, the writer modifies the following clause, not just Devin.
The absolute phrase differs from the participial phrase in two ways. First, the participial phrase does not have a noun in front of the participle, and the participial phrase modifies the subject.
Losing sleep because of all his worries, Devin began to have trouble staying awake at work.
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