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Identify illogical simultaneous actions caused by participles

Case for isolating present participles in their various positions

Present participles can create illogical simultaneous actions (two actions taking place at the same time when they CANNOT).


Dell-Dell was now ripping the dough apart into small chunks, using her palms to roll them into pear-shaped nuggets. ❌ 

She cannot be ripping the dough apart (presumably with her fingers) at the same time that she is using her palms to roll the chunks into nuggets. This illogical if not impossible action is implied by the use of the participial phrase, which creates simultaneity.

Dell-Dell was now ripping the dough apart into small chunks, and using her palms to roll them into pear-shaped nuggets. 

In the recast sentence directly above, it is now clear that she does two different actions in sequence, not simultaneously, as marked by the coordinating conjunction.

Syntactic search parameter

Type of search: Regex

MS Word use/instructions:

  1. Select the Advanced Find tool to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  2. Expand the Move>> button to show the Search Options.
  3. Select Use wildcards.
  4. Copy a regex provided below and paste it into the Find what field
  5. Within the regex, replace the entire “ITEM” placeholder including the square brackets with a search item from the Search items list (if or when provided) to establish the search parameter.
  6. Click the Find Next button to move through (select) each highlighted result.
  7. Alternatively, instead of clicking the results individually, you may just want to highlight all of them at once (perhaps to get an idea of the quantity). To do so while you are still in the Find and Replace dialog, click the Reading Highlight button and then select Highlight All.

Search items list:

  • NONE / already defined per regex/wildcards

Front of sentence paragraph-start phrases


Front of sentence intra-paragraph phrases

. <[A-Za-z]@ing>

End of sentence phrases

, [a-z][a-z]@ing>
Garie McIntosh
Garie McIntosh
Garie started out in administration in the fields of healthcare, project management and database development. Since 2016, he has been working to further develop himself as a fiction writer while working on his grammatical and linguistic pursuits. He considers that storytelling is analogous to communication. Garie writes stories with strong, authentic characters that are defined by strong writing and themes and thereby reinforce the power of communication. Through his educational and grammatical editing-service business, McIntoshLinguistics, Garie facilitates a process-method as an editing solution to enable writers and editors to meet traditional publishing standards. He has written and published his first novel, What's in a Name.

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