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

Comments

I feel very confused with this clause We were soaked to the skin . We eventually reached the station. how can I turn it into participle clause?
Thanks in advance

You can even say "we, having been soaked, eventually reached the station"
Or, "Having been soaked, we eventually reached the station". This is "perfect participle in passive form.

Hello dany,

You can place the participal phrase in a number of positions:

Soaked to the skin, we eventually reached the station.

We eventually reached the station, soaked to the skin.

We, soaked to the skin, eventually reached the station.

The last of these would be the least common, and has a rather literary feel.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
What is the difference between reduced relative clauses and participle clauses?
This sentence, for example: 'Located in the Colorado mountains, the Overlook hotel closes every winter'. sounds strange, while 'The Overlook hotel, located in the Colorado mountains, closes every winter', with punctuation matching the structure of a reduced relative clause, doesn't. But I don't understand why!

Hello bretfrag,

I'm not sure why you think the first sentence sounds strange, to be honest. It seems perfectly fine to me. Although the term 'participle clause' is often used (and is used on this page, and on this page), the correct name is 'participle phrase' as there is no finite verb present. Participle phrases generally have an adjectival function, providing more information about the subject of the main verb in the sentence. Other than the position of the participle phrase being more flexible, there is no difference in meaning between it and the reduced relative clause in your example.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

Shouted at loudly, Peter walked to home.(someone shouted at Peter)

In the second sentence there two different subjects. Can someone explain it to me plz. Thanks.

Hello Sharshar,

In your example the subject of both clauses is 'Peter'. The confusion arises from the fact that the first clause has a passive verb form ('Peter was shouted at loudly'). In passive constructions the grammatical subject is the recipient of the action. What you wrote inside the brackets is actually a transformed version of the first clause, in which you have changed passive to active and found a different subject, and this is misleading.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirik for your kind response ,, I have another question and I would appreciate if you respond to it as well, can I rewrite this following sentence like this????

two of the terrorists who shot the president have been caught.
two of the terrorists shooting the president have been caught.

and also this one:
the man who invented the digital camera has won the award.
The man inventing the digital camera has won an award.

is it possible and correct to rewrite the above sentences like that?

I await your reply.
Regards.

No we can't rewrite these sentences the way you have written . we can not use ( verb+ing ) if the action is already taken place . (verb+ing) form is used for action that is not yet finished . If you rewrite these sentences the way you wrote sense will be changed after rewriting . Like
Two of the terrorists who shot the president have been arrested. (This sentence refers to the incident that had happened before the police arrested them , i mean they had already shot the president)
But on rewriting , the sentence refers to the situation when they had been arrested while trying to shoot the president , it means they had not shot the president .

Hello monarcy110,

I'm afraid those sentences don't work, as the actions referred to with the participles occurred in the past. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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