Participle clauses

 

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.

Comments

Hello there!

Could you kindly clarify a query on participle clauses?

The sentence "The cast chosen , they could start the rehearsals" means "Once the cast had been chosen, they could start the rehearsals" .
The question: Would "The cast chosen, they will be able to start the rehearsals" work for "Once the cast has been chosen, they will be able to start the rehearsals"?

Thank you very much in advance.
Oleg

Hello Oleg,

Yes, that's correct. The time reference of the first part is dependent on the second part, rather that having a fixed time reference itself.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,

That was of great help. Thank you very much indeed.

Warm wishes,
Oleg

Hi Team LearnEnglish,
1. "We watched the students jogging round the campus".
2. "We watched students jogging round the campus".

can we say first sentence to have got jogging as a participle?
And also that in second sentence jogging to be 'gerund' since determiner 'the' is not present?

If not,how can we distinguish jogging between these two sentences?.

Help please.

Regards,
Nandish BC.

Hi 

Hello Nandish BC,

As I said in a previous answer, a gerund functions as a noun. Here, in both sentences 'jogging' is an adjectival form which describes 'students'; the definite article tells us only whether or not we know which students we are talking about (as opposed to just general students).

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter
I would have thought that "jogging " in both sentences is indeed a participle form and structurally represents a reduced relative clause i.e "the students/students (who were) jogging round the campus.

Regards
basm

Hi Team learnenglish,

Here is the sentene,"We rely on our neighbours watering the plants while we're away."

what is the verb form of watering here,is it a gerund or a particple?
the book i read says it is a gerund.Bit confused with these type of usage of gerund after subject.

Regards,
Nandish BC.

Hello Nandish BC,

A gerund is a verbal noun; it can only act in the sentence in the way a noun can. Here, 'watering' is a participle. However, it is not a participle clause as the subject in the main clause ('I') is not the thing doing the watering. Here, we have an adjectival form, describing 'neighbours' - a kind of simplified relative clause.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr.peter,

you would say that "our neighbors watering" can stand for "our neighbors who waters".
That make sense!

Thanks,and regards,
Nandish

Hello Nandishchandra,

Yes, that is correct.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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