Verb position

I think the entire country assumed that Mugabe was going to get on state television and announce that he was resigning as president. Instead, he gave a meandering speech that led to no resignation at all. So as far as anyone understands, he is still the president. He’s the president with diminishing support by the day. But until he resigns or until he’s forced out of power or until the country finds a legal path to dismissing him, he remains the president of Zimbabwe. – NPR

Let’s take a look at the highlighted sentence, in which ‘diminishing‘ appears to be an adjective.

He’s the president with diminishing support by the day.

Well, it’s not meant to be an adjective. Here are the same words, different order.

He’s the president with support diminishing by the day.

Without a doubt, ‘diminishing‘ is a verb, an action word. The dude’s support is shrinking, a little (or a lot) each day. Soon it will be gone. That makes sense. He has been in power since the beginning of (Zimbabwe) time. The following, however, does not make sense.

He’s the president with diminishing support by the day.

That’s why it is in red.

When a sentence contains two verbs, the second verb should not be a shrinking violet, a wallflower. It should be leaning forward, spring-loaded, ready to pop.

He’s the president with support diminishing by the day.

I mean, in a dependent clause the verb should follow, not lead, its subject whenever possible. Now that you know this, you have to cringe a little (e.g., at the 1:20 mark here) whenever you hear a verb unwittingly adjectivized.