Participle clauses

 

 

Participle clauses

Participle clauses are a bit like relative clauses – they give us more information.

  • People wearing carnival costumes filled the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
  • The paintings stolen from the National Gallery last week have been found.

The participle clauses (‘wearing …’ and ‘stolen ….’) act like relative clauses. We could say:

  • People who were wearing carnival costumes filled the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
  • The paintings which were stolen from the National Gallery last week have been found.

With the Past Participle

  • A pair of shoes worn by Marilyn Monroe have been sold for fifty thousand dollars.
  • Trees blown down in last night’s storms are being removed this morning.

We use the past participle – ‘blown’ in the last example but the ending ‘-ed’ is used in regular verbs – when the meaning is passive.

With the Present Participle

  • A woman carrying a bright green parrot walked into the room.
  • A man holding a gun shouted at us to lie down.

We use the present participle - the ‘-ing’ form – to form the participle clause when the meaning is active.

Notice that the participle clauses with the present participle have a continuous meaning. If we replaced them with a relative clause it would be in a continuous tense.

  • A man holding a gun has the same meaning as A man who was holding a gun.

We can’t make a participle clause with a present participle when the meaning is not continuous.

  • The woman living next door is on holiday.
  • The woman who lives next door is on holiday.

 

Exercise