Absolute PhraseAbsolutes are sentence parts that describe the rest of the sentence in which they appear. Absolutes are almost complete sentences. As a test, you can make any absolute a sentence by adding was or were.
Another way to identify an absolute is that many absolutes begin with the words my, his, her, its, our, their (possessive pronouns). Absolutes can occur as sentence openers, subject-verb splits, or sentence closers. Examples are boldfaced.
His hands raw, he reached a flat place at the top. Richard Connell, “The Most Dangerous Game”
Miss Hearne, her face burning, hardly listened to these words. Brian Moore, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
Those who had caught sharks had taken them to the shark factory on the other side of the cove where they were hoisted on a block and tackle, their livers removed, their fins cut off, and their hides skinned out, and their flesh cut into strips for salting. (four closers)
High in the air, a little figure, his hands thrust in his short jacket pockets, stood staring out to sea. Katherine Mansfield, “The Voyage.”
Each scrambled sentence has one or more absolute phrases. Identify them. Then unscramble the sentence parts and write out the sentence, punctuating it correctly.
a. Ib. each set upon a carved wooden basec. looked across to a lighted case of Chinese designd. which held delicate-looking statuese. of horses and birds, small vases and bowls
I looked across to a lighted case of Chinese design which held delicate-looking statues of horses and birds, small vases and bowls, each set upon a carved wooden base.Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
a. to light the cigaretteb. his throat sorec. he forgotd. his head aching
His head aching, his throat sore, he forgot to light the cigarette.Sinclair Lewis, Cass Timberlane
a. while Buck struggled in furyb. then the rope tightened mercilesslyc. and his great chest pantingd. his tongue lolling out of his mouth
Then the rope tightened mercilessly while Buck struggled in fury, his tongue lolling out of his mouth and his great chest panting.Jack London, The Call of the Wild