Being a dependent clause, it perhaps should not start a sentence.

Folks, let's talk about Dependent Clauses.

 

A Clause is dependent if you clip it at the commas, set it off by itself, and it immediately falls over. Case in point: In the title of this thread, "Being a dependent clause" is a dependent clause.

 

As a rule, starting a sentence with a depenedent clause is very risky. Take this example:

 

" Living in a secluded location in Scotland, a stranger approaches Orton and blackmails him into joining The Disciples of Retribution, a select band of vigilantes."

 

Okay, you see the problem, no doubt. " Living in a secluded location in Scotland, " is a dependent clause leading off the sentence. Question... WHO EXACTLY LIVES IN A SECLUDED LOCATION IN SCOTLAND? is it the Stranger? Because that's what the STRUCTURE of the sentence strongly implies. But since the dependent clause leading it off is not properly tied to the Main Clause (that's the one that has the main verb(s) in it), the person living in a secluded location in Scotland could logically be:

 

1.) The Stranger

2.) Orton

3.) The Disciples of Retribution

4.) A select band of vigilantes

5.) All of the above.

 

If we must start with a dependent clause, please tie it to the structure of the sentence. For example...

Although he lives in a secluded location in Scotland, Orton is approached by a stranger who blackmails him into joining The Disciples of Retribution, a select band of vigilantes.

 

Now... Who lives in a secluded location in Scotland? Orton does, because he is the first person named after the dependent clause. The stranger, the disciples, and the select band are now sentenced to live in an unsecluded but undisclosed location, which could be Edinburgh or Cornwall or the Dutch East Indies. Wait, how do we know that it's not all of the above? Because we specified it about Orton. This implies that it is not true in the more general case.

 

If we said:  In a secluded location in Scotland, Orton is approached by a stranger who blackmails him into joining The Disciples of Retribution, a select band of vigilantes. then we would not be saying or implying that anyone lived there -- perhaps all of them do, or they might have all met there on a holiday.

 

Yes, I know, I've gone pedantic about semantics. Sorry Folks, couldn't resist.

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