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Participle clauses

Do you know how to use participle clauses to say information in a more economical way?

Look at these examples to see how participle clauses are used.

Looked after carefully, these boots will last for many years.
Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I avoided the question. 
Having lived through difficult times together, they were very close friends.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar B1-B2: Participle clauses: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Participle clauses enable us to say information in a more economical way. They are formed using present participles (going, reading, seeing, walking, etc.), past participles (gone, read, seen, walked, etc.) or perfect participles (having gone, having read, having seen, having walked, etc.). 

We can use participle clauses when the participle and the verb in the main clause have the same subject. For example,

Waiting for Ellie, I made some tea. (While I was waiting for Ellie, I made some tea.)

Participle clauses do not have a specific tense. The tense is indicated by the verb in the main clause. 

Participle clauses are mainly used in written texts, particularly in a literary, academic or journalistic style. 

Present participle clauses

Here are some common ways we use present participle clauses. Note that present participles have a similar meaning to active verbs. 

  • To give the result of an action
    The bomb exploded, destroying the building.
  • To give the reason for an action
    Knowing she loved reading, Richard bought her a book.
  • To talk about an action that happened at the same time as another action
    Standing in the queue, I realised I didn't have any money.
  • To add information about the subject of the main clause
    Starting in the new year, the new policy bans cars in the city centre.

Past participle clauses

Here are some common ways that we use past participle clauses. Note that past participles normally have a passive meaning.

  • With a similar meaning to an if condition
    Used in this way, participles can make your writing more concise. (If you use participles in this way, … )
  • To give the reason for an action
    Worried by the news, she called the hospital.
  • To add information about the subject of the main clause
    Filled with pride, he walked towards the stage.

Perfect participle clauses

Perfect participle clauses show that the action they describe was finished before the action in the main clause. Perfect participles can be structured to make an active or passive meaning.

Having got dressed, he slowly went downstairs.
Having finished their training, they will be fully qualified doctors.
Having been made redundant, she started looking for a new job.

Participle clauses after conjunctions and prepositions

It is also common for participle clauses, especially with -ing, to follow conjunctions and prepositions such as before, after, instead of, on, since, when, while and in spite of.

Before cooking, you should wash your hands. 
Instead of complaining about it, they should try doing something positive.
On arriving at the hotel, he went to get changed.
While packing her things, she thought about the last two years.
In spite of having read the instructions twice, I still couldn’t understand how to use it.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar B1-B2: Participle clauses: 2

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hi Tim

Glad to be of help, and thanks for your kind words!

Best wishes

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

If I have such crucial info using which one can make lots of money; why he would share this info with others.

In the above sentence, is the word "using" used as the preposition or gerund, please clarify.
thanks.

Hello SUCHIT35,

'Using' here is a participle, not a preposition or a gerund. However, the sentence is not correctly constructed in several areas and would need to be rewritten:

If I have such crucial info, with which one can make lots of money, why would I share this info with others?

 

We try to answer questions posted as quickly as we are able, though we are a small team here at LearnEnglish. Please do not post the same question multiple times as it only slows down the process.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello

please help

1. What is the difference between "Compound Noun(gerund+noun)" vs any expression that uses participle as adjective(present participle +noun), are these two different things?
for example working professional, walking stick etc. what are these, Gerund or participle+noun?
2. Subject complement- Gerund vs Participle/Participle clause
How to know difference btn the two.
Eg. The book is boring to read
is this an Example of subject compliment ie a type of gerund or is it a participle/Participle clause? what is the difference between the two?
Thanks you

hi, can someone please answer these.

Hello John Mccan

Re: 1, I'd say that 'walking' in 'a walking stick' is a gerund, i.e. 'walking stick' is a compound noun or noun + noun construction where the first noun has an adjectival function. I suppose you could also argue that 'walking' is an adjective, but 'walking stick' is such a common collocation that I see it more as a noun with an adjectival function.

Re: 2, 'boring' is an adjective. There are many adjectives that can be followed by infinitives -- please see the Adjectives with to-infinitives section on our Infinitives page.

Please note that we respond to user comments as we can and at our own discretion. If a comment of yours goes unanswered for more than a week, it could be that we've missed it and you are welcome to ask us about it. Otherwise, please just be patient.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello John Mccan

Re: 3, you could say 'thank you for your reply', but just 'thank you for reply' is not grammatically correct -- some kind of determiner is needed, and a possessive is the most commonly used one here.

Re: 2, please have a look at the explanation of subject complements in the Cambridge Dictionary. A subject complement follows a linking verb and is grammatically necessary in a sentence. A participle phrase gives additional information.

Re: 1, I'm sorry, nothing comes to mind. We're happy to help you with language that you encounter or give examples of common grammar, but I'm afraid we don't have the time to provide tutorials or search for examples of more unusual grammar.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
I am confused with this adverb clause. I saw this as an example of an adverb clause. But it does not start with a.conjuntion.
Please confirm whether it is an adverb clause and the reason.
Jeff stared at the animal with his widely opened eyes

Hello sumanasc

I'd suggest you have a look at the Adverbials section of our Grammar reference. As you can see there, a prepositional phrase (such as 'with his eyes wide open') is a kind of adverbial.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir
Please tell whether the following sentence is correct as an adverb clause:
The ships returned to the harbour which took a long time in sea.

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