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Participle clauses

Do you know how to start a clause with a present participle (e.g. seeing) or past participle (e.g. seen)?

Participle clauses

Participle clauses are a form of adverbial clause which enables us to say information in a more economical way. We can use participle clauses when the participle and the verb in the main clause have the same subject. For example:

Waiting for John, I made some tea.

Waiting for John, the kettle boiled. [This would suggest that the kettle was waiting for John!]

 

Forming participle clauses

Participle clauses can be formed with the present participle (-ing form of the verb) or past participle (third form of the verb). Participle clauses with past participles have a passive meaning:

Shouting loudly, Peter walked home. [Peter was shouting]

Shouted at loudly, Peter walked home. [Someone was shouting at Peter]

If we wish to emphasise that one action was before another then we can use a perfect participle (having + past participle):

Having won the match, Susan jumped for joy.

Having been told the bad news, Susan sat down and cried.

 

 

The meaning and use of participle clauses

Participle clauses give information about condition, result, reason or time. For example:

 

CONDITION (with a similar meaning to an if-condition):

Looked after carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.

Compare: If you look after it carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.

 

RESULT (with a similar meaning to so or therefore):

The bomb exploded, destroying the building.

Compare: The bomb exploded so the building was destroyed.

 

REASON (with a similar meaning to because or since):

I had no time to read my book, having spent so long doing my homework.

Compare: I had no time to read my book because I had spent so long doing my homework.

 

TIME (with a similar meaning to words like when, while or as soon as):

Sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.

Compare: While I was sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hi
Some languages use a term transliterated in English as "relative participle"
Is there any such term in English grammar?
Thank you

Hi Jamil,

This is not a term we use. You can find participles in reduced relative clauses, however.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Please, add some exams about Participle Clauses.

Dear Sirs,
Can I use participle to describe a sequence of event? For example, I entered a room, and then in the room, I cleared all the rubbish, painted the wall, swept the floor, and clean the windows. Can I rewrite as the following?
1) I entered a room, clearing all the rubbish, painting the wall, sweeping the floor, and cleaning the windows.
2) I entered a room, and cleared all the rubbish, painted the wall, swept the floor, and clean the windows.
Thank you

Hello Kaisoo93,

We use a participle like to describe actions happening simultaneously rather than in sequence, so your first sentence suggests that you did all of those actions while you were entering the room. Obviously, this is not possible, so the sentence would be understood thanks to the context, but grammatically the meaning would be a little different from that which you intended.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter.
So the second sentence is correct, is it?

Hello Kaisoo93,

Yes, the second sentence is fine.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter

I have some sentence need a solution can anyone help me?
thank you

Hello crow,

This site is aimed at helping people improve their English by providing explanations and practice. We don't offer a correction or proofreading service, however.

If you have a questions about how English works or about something you don't understand then we'll be happy to try to help.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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