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 tend not to make participle clauses with a present participle when the meaning is not continuous.
- The man who passed the exam got a better job.
The man passing the exam got a better job.
However, where the meaning is continuous we can use a participle clause with a present participle.
- The man who was writing the exam looked tired.
- The man writing the exam looked tired.
We cannot form a participle clause with a present participle from a stative verb:
- A man who had only one eye came in.
A man having only one eye came in.