Read the grammar explanation and do the exercise.

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.

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Hello there.
How many tenses are there in English ?? 12 or 16?? why "future in past" and its sub-forms are not counted??

Hello monarchy110,

Tense has a verb specific meaning in linguistics. It is defined as changes in the verb form which show time from the point of view of the speaker. You can find a precise definition here


The consensus amongst grammarians is that English has two tenses: past and nonpast (present). However, these are not tied to fixed times. Both can be used with past, present or future time reference.

For example, I can talk about the past using present forms, such as in an anecdote:

So this guy comes into the pub and he says to me...

I can talk about the future using a past form:

If you saw him next week, what would you do?


Beyond this, there are two aspects which can be added to these tenses: perfect and continuous/progressive. This enables us to create very many verb forms to express a wide range of meanings.

The last element of the verb form is voice, which can be active or passive.


Future time is expressed in many ways. We can use present continuous forms, a 'going to' construction, modal verbs like 'will' and 'should' and many other forms as well. These are not, however, tenses, grammatically speaking.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk and Peter,

“Nearly seventy percent of people living in the region lack access to electricity, forcing them to spend significant amounts of their income on …”
Is this a participle clause? Which is the subject that the “forcing” is modifying? If the subject is the phase before the "forcing", why isn't the "which is forcing" being used?

This is article link,

Thank you!

Hello karewingwong,

This is a reduced relative clause. The full version is '... lack access to electricity, which forces them to spend ...'. Although our defining relative clauses page only explains the simplest ways of reducing relative clauses, you might find it useful to read through it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

Would you illustrate the following sentence if it’s participle or gerund?

Teachers and students are both suffering from depression, with most teachers feeling work pressure and one out of two students suffering mentally, say two separate surveys.

Best Regards

Hi Windy,

The first -ing form ('suffering') is part of the present continuous verb 'are suffering'. The other two, 'feeling' and 'suffering' are participles. Gerunds are nouns and here these words are modifying nouns ('teachers' and 'students'), so that is a pretty good indication that they are not gerunds.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

A substantial number of students who took part in the canteen's survey said they would be more likely to do this if the canteen offered more healthy food.

In this sentence, the writer used ‘ who’ after students.

Maybe , the writer could write like this: ‘students taking part’ . How about this?

Another sentence:

A survey conducted recently by students suggested that many are happy with the food on offer but the canteen staff say that the profit from these would make it possible to offer a more varied and thus healthier selection or at least to provide some kind of 'traffic light' system to guide students towards a healthier balance of foods.

It is about past participle guess.

The writer wrote: The survey conducted...
This one I guess: the survey which has been conducted recently.

Please reply.

Hello Rox4090,

In answer to your first question, yes, that would be fine. Your rewording of the second sentence is also possible and is correct as well.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


She faced every problem arised or
arising in her life.
She faced every problem come or
coming in her life.

and what if I wrote these sentences in present tense or future tense, would there be a present participle (coming or arising) or a past participle (come or arised) in these sentences ?

Hi SonuKumar,

The past participle doesn't work here -- only the present participle is possible (e.g. 'She faced every problem arising in her life'). That said, it would be much more natural to say 'She faced every problem that arose in her life' -- participle clauses are relatively rare in most writing and speaking.

I'd also recommend a relative clause to speak about the present or future.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team