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, reason, result or time. For example:

Condition (in place of 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.

Reason (in place of words like so or therefore):

Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I decided to arrange a meeting.

Compare: I wanted to speak to him about the contract so I decided to arrange a meeting.

Result (in place of words like because or as a result):

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 (in place of 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.

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Comments

Hello mehdi,

I'm afraid there is no good reason for this, and although there are some general rules in English spelling, there are so many exceptions that the rules are not all that useful in the end. I wish I had a better answer for you!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team 

Greetings.

I would like to ask which of the following is correct. They all seem correct to me.
1. Seeing this, she informed her father immediately.
2. On seeing this, she informed her father immediately.
3. Having seen this, she informed her father immediately.
(Note: Before the above sentence, there are some sentences describing a crime scene.)

Kindly explain the grammar rules if any of the above sentences is wrong.

Thanks in advance.

Hello Ycooi,

All three sentences are correct grammatically. Of course, which sentence is most appropriate will depend upon the context and what you wish to express.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
Refer to your examples:-
1). Shouting loudly, Peter walked away.
What is the meaning of the sentence? Is it mean that Because of Peter shouted loudly, he walked away or when Peter shouted loudly, he walked away.

Hi firee818,

We use participle phrases/clauses to indicate actions occurring at the same time. In this sentence Peter is shouting as he walks away, If we wanted to show that the shouting was first and the walking later (a sequence) then we could use a perfect participle: Having shouted loudly, Peter...'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, He writes a later asking about money and He talks about a boy asking for money. I want to talk about two aspects of these sentences, first is a question if I add a comma (,) after a later in the first question and a boy in the second question does that change the meaning or not and in my second question where the participle 'Asking' clearly refers to the boy, becoming an adjective participle, do you think In a sentence like this one should write a comma between the noun and the participle which refers to the noun in writing and

Now, which I think helps other students get this rule or structure right is My first sentence says that He writes a later and asks for money. Here clearly participle asking refers to the man who writes though it's after the noun later but if we understand that it refers to the noun later, then this sentence doesn't make any sense but in my second sentence the participle asking refers to the boy and here it's after boy a noun but it doesn't refer to the subject I and if we understand that it refers to I , it doesn't make sense. So what I understand is that we should always catch the sense of a sentence rather than making our own sentence and thinking about them too much, after all grammar is for making us understand a language not for making us confused and go astray right sir ?

Sir, Generally these sentences don't make sense (I don't want to anyone to doubt me by staying at that hotel)
(By staying at that hotel I don't want anyone to doubt me) It's possible here suppose I'm drug dealer so I think that these sentenses are possible but all I want to know is if we add the phrase 'by staying at that hotel' in front the subject 'I' in this sentence like I did In my first sentence so it refers to the subject 'I' doesn't it ? or If we add the phrase 'by staying at that hotel' at the end of the sentense so it refers to the object of the sentence 'Anyone' doesn't it ?

Sir, I saw her sleeping or going to sleep it means that I saw her when she was sleeping or going to sleeping but if Say that I saw her while sleeping or going to sleep so it means that I saw her when I was sleeping or going to sleep doesn't it ? so my question is that does just adding the word 'while' in this sentence change the meaning and make it what I understood in my second sentence or not ?

Hello SonuKumar,

As you say, the sentence 'I saw her sleeping' means that you saw her while she was sleeping. The sentence 'I saw her while sleeping' would generally be understood to mean that you saw her while you were sleeping (in a dream, perhaps).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, I don't want to stay there because anyone can doubt me. if we have to make this sentence using participle so we can rewrite it like this- By staying there, I don't want anyone to doubt me But If I want to say that I don't want anyone to stay there because they can doubt me, So Could I rewrite this using participle like this- I don't want anyone to doubt me by staying there or ? does phrase "By staying there" make any differences if we move it in front of this sentence and at the end of the sentence ?

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