“Researchers blamed the low rate of growth in the harbor's toad population on lake toxicity as well as on the weather slowing metabolism and reproductive activity."
Is this sentence grammatically right? Let us see.
What is slowing metabolism and reproductive activity? Is it weather alone or lake toxicity as well? If you want to mean that both are responsible, then you have to necessarily put a comma after 'weather', so that the present participle ‘slowing’ modifies the entire noun idea before it. Otherwise, ‘slowing’ will be simply modifying weather alone and hence structurally and stylistically and semantically wrong. You can’t skip the comma before ‘slowing’
'.. slowing the growth' seems to refer to the researchers
e.g. Researchers blamed poor health conditions on poor dietary habits, concluding that better diet would help save lives. --> Here, Researchers conclude => 'concluding ...' refers to researchers.
Dan identified the problem, using the latest technology --> again comma+verbing tells how Dan identified the problem; 'using ...' doesn't refer to problem here
Do you mean that the sentence (in question) structure like this:
I saw dogs dancing on the road --> here, "dancing on the road" refers to dogs
I saw cats and dogs dancing on the road --> "dancing on the road" still refers to dogs only. so, essentially, the sentence would mean i saw cats and dancing dogs.
So, to make the sentence mean dancing cats and dancing dogs, we'd have t introduce comma, and it'll look something like this:
I saw cats and dogs, dancing on the road. Does 'dancing on the road' refer to cats and dogs both? Isn't "dancing .." ambiguous since it could refer to "I" (that is i was cats and dogs while i was dancing) or "cats and dogs" (that is I saw dancing cats and dancing dogs)?
Please clarify the confusion: in one, ', verb+ing ...' modifies the subject and in the other, the object. thanks in advance.