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


A substantial number of students who took part in the canteen's survey said they would be more likely to do this if the canteen offered more healthy food.

In this sentence, the writer used ‘ who’ after students.

Maybe , the writer could write like this: ‘students taking part’ . How about this?

Another sentence:

A survey conducted recently by students suggested that many are happy with the food on offer but the canteen staff say that the profit from these would make it possible to offer a more varied and thus healthier selection or at least to provide some kind of 'traffic light' system to guide students towards a healthier balance of foods.

It is about past participle guess.

The writer wrote: The survey conducted...
This one I guess: the survey which has been conducted recently.

Please reply.

Hello Rox4090,

In answer to your first question, yes, that would be fine. Your rewording of the second sentence is also possible and is correct as well.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


She faced every problem arised or
arising in her life.
She faced every problem come or
coming in her life.

and what if I wrote these sentences in present tense or future tense, would there be a present participle (coming or arising) or a past participle (come or arised) in these sentences ?

Hi SonuKumar,

The past participle doesn't work here -- only the present participle is possible (e.g. 'She faced every problem arising in her life'). That said, it would be much more natural to say 'She faced every problem that arose in her life' -- participle clauses are relatively rare in most writing and speaking.

I'd also recommend a relative clause to speak about the present or future.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Does the following sentence categorize by present particple ?
Going home last night, I saw a bus knocked the man down
( I saw a bus knocked the man down, when I was going home last night. )


Hello Windy,

Yes, that sentence has a present participle (going). Well done!



The LearnEnglish Team

Can we use participle with future tense? For example, plying football for several hours, I will be tired. Is this sentence make sense?

Hello Mdanesh,

Yes, that sentence is fine. Participles are non-finite verb forms so they have no inherent time reference. They take their time reference from the other verbs around them, or from the context.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello both Mr.Kirk and Peter M,
Based on your policy, you are not commenting on any tex if they both constructed or punctuated well, but please look at my email whether it is understandable or not.

"Dear Sir,
I hope you are doing well.
Unusually, since we have been encountered some financial crisis, we are not able to reimburse our cement's, gravel's, and fuel's supplier on their due dates; consequently, there will l be a likely shortage in supplying raw material(cement, gravel, and fuel.) In order not to face any failures in providing concrete, you are softly requested to pay off your due accounts as soon as it is possible.
I hope again not to be indignant by this email."
Best regards,
Account Officer,
Qayum Shah

Hi Qayum,

Yes, I had no trouble understanding this message. Well done!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team