Do you know how to start a clause with a present participle (e.g. seeing) or past participle (e.g. seen)?

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, result, reason or time. For example:


CONDITION (with a similar meaning to 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.


RESULT (with a similar meaning to so or therefore):

The bomb exploded, destroying the building.

Compare: The bomb exploded so the building was destroyed.


REASON (with a similar meaning to because or since):

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 (with a similar meaning to 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


They say having him as both weakens the board's oversight of management.
Here what is the meaning of (having )?
My mind confuses when I read or hear sentences include( having)

Hello Abdo Hassan,

'having him as both' is the subject of the verb 'weakens'; it is not a participle clause. One of the uses of the -ing form is to create a gerund, i.e. to make a verb function as a noun. It's difficult to say without knowing the context, but perhaps this person has two positions that normally must be separate to prevent conflicts of interest.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I ran away seeing Priya.
I ran away by seeing Priya.

I know that the first sentence is right.
But using the word 'By' In the second
sentence makes it a little worng.
why is that and then where should we use the word 'By' In front of 'Ing form of the verb = Present participle' ?

Hi SonuKumar,

There is no clear relationship between running away and seeing Priya. Normally there needs to be some kind of causal or other relationship. For example, 'How did he become a millionaire? -- He did it by playing the lottery every day'. 'playing the lottery' shows how 'he did it'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

One action happend after the other in the
second sentence in the comment above,
apart from that one action happend because
of the other action happening or happened.

So, I think there is a relationship between the
two events happening here in this sentence;

I ran away by seeing Priya.
Then why can't we use the word 'By' here ?

Hi SonuKumar,

The relationship you speak of is not clear to me, at least not from the words alone. Even if it were clear given the context (which I don't have), I think the sentence in English would still be odd because seeing something doesn't clearly lead to running away.

If seeing Priya frightened him, then I'd say 'after seeing' or 'because he saw' or 'when he saw', though there the context would still be necessary to understand why. 

'by' is usually used to speak about the manner in which something is done (e.g. 'She learned English by practising every day').

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

What were the subtitutions taking place in
the England football team last night.

Why not 'Taken place' instead of 'Taking
place' in the sentence while the action is
already complete ?

But In this sentence we use past participle
like this 'What were the subtitutions made
or done by the England team.

is it because 'Make and Do' are transtive
verbs, while 'Take place' is not ?

Hello SonuKumar,

As you say, 'take place' is an intransitive verb so it would not be used with a passive meaning.

Please note that we generally do not deal with sentences taken from elsewhere as we are not responsible for their content or language choices. We're happy to comment on our own material and explanations, of course.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sirs,
"There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look."

I copied the sentence from the website. I have two questions.
1. According to grammar rules, whenever an 'IF" clause comes second, we do not put a comma, but we have in the sentence. Why?
2. In which situations, can we use 'IF' in future tenses?

Hi qayum2s,

When 'will' is used after 'if' like this, it typically means either 'be willing to'. Here the idea appears to be that if people were just willing to take the time to look, they would find there is enough love. It's also possible for 'will' to mean something like 'it is true now that' -- for example, 'If you really will help me paint the house, I will wait for you'.

I probably would have left out the comma in that sentence; I'm afraid I don't know how to explain that writer's choice other than to note that there is quite a bit of variation in punctuation.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team