The Inside Write Stuff – absolutes to modify and add details

Absolutes, not the vodka of bottle-shape fame (which itself is an absolute), are phrases that look like sentences but lack the verb “be,” and let the lawyer add modifying details to a sentence. Because the absolute has its own subject, it can describe just a part of whatever it modifies.

(1) We tried to license the patent. Its value would be mostly for defensive purposes.

(2) We tried to license the patent, its value mostly for defensive purposes.

As illustrated, you can create an absolute by deleting a form of “to be.” You can also change the verb into its participial form (with an –ing).

(3) We tried to license the patent, valuing it mostly for defensive purposes.

With the absolutes of (2) and (3), the focus is on a part of the first clause, the patent.

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