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.