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

Comments

Please check!

Participle clause-

I went to the market, wanting to buy grocery.

Hi Rox4090,

Yes, that's the idea, though normally the participle clause comes first. It's also a bit unusual in informal speech -- this sounds rather more informal than formal. Finally, 'grocery' should be plural.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Peter M & Kirk!

Good day! Hope both of you are doing well!

I need a bit clarification from you regarding the following sentence:

Economists often criticize rent control, arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

What is the meaning of participle clause 'arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living' in the above sentence? How could the sentence have been restructured by using a dependent clause instead of participle clause?

It would be highly appreciated if you could enlighten me with your valuable comments on it.

Hello learner2018,

The participle clause explains the main clause here, telling us how the main action is done: Economists often criticise rent control by arguing that...

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Peter M & Kirk!

Good day! I came across the following sentence while reading my economics text:

In our example, free trade in textiles would cause the price of textiles to fall, reducing the quantity of textiles produced in Iceland and thus reducing employment in the Icelandic textile industry.

I think the participle clause 'reducing the quantity of textiles produced' demonstrates the result of the main clause 'the price of textiles to fall'. Is it reasonable to think?

My second question is: the usage of 'and thus' with the participle clause 'reducing employment in the Icelandic textile industry' is correct? If it is correct, what type of clause 'and thus reducing employment in the Icelandic textile industry' would be?

It would be highly appreciated from my end, if you could enlighten me with your valuable comments on the aforementioned issues.

Hello learner2018,

You are correct: the clause beginning 'reducing...' shows the result of the main clause. A second result is given in a parallel clause ('...reducing...'), which is joined with the co-ordinating conjunction 'and'.

'Thus' is an adverb and does not change the structure of the sentence here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter M,

Good day! Thank you so much for your previous comments on some issues which I got confused about. However, I need your valuable comments on the following two sentences regarding the meaning of participle clauses:

1. Economists often criticize rent control, arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

What is the meaning of participle clause 'arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living' in the above sentence? How could the sentence have been restructured by using a dependent clause instead of participle clause?

2. For low levels of quantity supplied, the elasticity of supply is high, indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price.

What is the meaning of participle clause 'indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price'? How could the sentence have been restructured by using a dependent clause instead of participle clause?

Hello, Peter M & Kirk!

Hope everything is going great at your end. I am seeking your valuable comments on the usage of 'by directly controlling the price' in the following sentence which I came across in my economics text.

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome by directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Wouldn't be grammatically correct writing 'directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone instead'? Would there be any difference in meaning, though grammatically correct?

It would be highly appreciated from my end if you could provide some other examples of using by + verb+ ing and the reasons of using that structure.

Hello learner2018,

We use 'by + -ing' (by + object (gerund)) to show the method or technique by which something was done:

I made my fortune by investing in a tech company.

She scared the tiger away by sounding her car horn repeatedly.

 

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome by directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Here, the meaning is clear: the method for altering the market outcome is the direct control of the price of an ice-cream cone.

 

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome, directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Here, the meaning is different. The laws change the market outcome, and that results in the direct control of the.... In other words, by omitting 'by' we have changed the cause (method) into a result or co-occuring event.

 

This is quite common:

I answered, laughing. [I was laughing as I answered]

I answered by laughing. [The laugh was my answer]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
My friend was an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable proformer but a composer of no ordinary merit.

My friend was an enthusiastic musician and he was not only a very capable proformer but a composer of no ordinary merit.

I think these two sentences say the same thing don't they ?

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