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.

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Comments

Hello Zynah,

No, I'm afraid we can't replace the if-clause in that way. It is possible to use a present participle but the meaning then is not conditional:

Coming on time, he taught the whole chapter.

This would mean 'He came on time and so taught...'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Could I use the structure 'Having done' With future tense like- having had my lunch at 1:00 'O' clock at the afternoon I will catch my train at 2:00 p.m, or Should I Only use 'after doing' with future tense ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Yes, you can use a participle clause like that -- your sentence is correct. Participle clauses are a bit rare in ordinary speaking and writing, however. You're much more likely to hear or see 'after having' instead of 'having had'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I am a bit confused here. If we want to shorten a long sentence starting with an if clause then we will use a past participle in the beginning. But for all the sentences with a past participle in it , we are using a present participle in the beginning. Am I correct? This is what i have understood.

Hello Zynah, The subject of the participle must also be the subject of the other verb.

Hello Zynah,

Could you please give an example of what you mean? Participle clauses cannot replace all kinds of conditional sentences and are not regularly used to do so.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, "She is standing in front of me with a ruler taking in her hands"
"She is standing in front of me 'with' taking a ruler in her hands" Can omit word with in second sentence and is first sentence right with participle taking after word ruler or can it come only before with as in second sentence?

Hello SonuKumar,

I'm afraid neither sentence is correct. We don't use the word 'taking' in this way. You could use the word 'holding' (without 'with') or use just the preposition 'with' (without any participle after it). In other words:

  1. She is standing in front of me holding a ruler in her hands.
  2. She is standing in front of me with a ruler in her hands.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Is there any difference between these two sentences or are both correct ?
"She is standing in front of me with taking a ruler in her hands"
"She is standing in front of me with a ruler taken in her hands" And yes one last question, Is in first sentence word with interchangeable with the word By and can with or by both be omitted in first sentence?

Hello SonuKumar,

Both sentences are incorrect. The second sentence would be correct without the word 'taken'.

You cannot use 'by' instead of 'with' here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Tea

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