Saturday, February 15, 2014

Absolute Phrases

Absolutes add to a sentence, spicing it with specific and vivid description. In Harry Noden's words, absolutes "add to the action of an image" (Image Grammar 6). To identify them, look for nouns paired with participles. (Notice the bold pairs in the examples below.)

Khaled Hosseini uses absolutes often in his captivating prose.
"We would sit across from each other on a pair of high branches, our naked feet dangling, our trouser pockets filled with dried mulberries and walnuts" (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, 3).
"I can still see Hassan up on that tree, sunlight flickering through the leaves on his almost perfectly round face..." (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, 3). 
"He was standing by the front door, dressed in white, hands tucked under his armpits, breath puffing from his mouth" (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, 44). 
 "Then the heavens opened, the rain pouring down, the lightning flashing, and they rushed for the cover of the stables, leaving alone on his side near the pile of bricks, the rain running off his hide, dead an hour and a quarter after his first start, Air Lift, son of Bold Venture, full brother of Assault" (W. C. Heinz, "Death of a Racehorse").

For more mentor texts, go here.

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