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


Thank you very much Peter, it is very clear now. And also thank you for these sources you gave me.

Dear sir,

I have learned that a present participle is follwed by a be verb. but a action verb also follows be verb to form continuous.
Two examples...

1.I am sitting in front of the building.
2.I am eating rice.
In the first sentence, does sitting act as an adjective or verb?

how can I differentiate?

Hello AminulIslam.
Both of your examples describe activities taking place at the time of speaking rather than characteristics of the person ('I'), so the forms are present continuous.
Present participles have a variety of functions. They can function as nouns (gerunds), as part of progressive verb forms and as adjectives. The form itself does not change, so only by analysing the use in the sentence can we identify the particular function in a given example.
For example:
> I am sitting in front of the building - an activity in progress, so a progressive verb form
> I walked up to the sitting man - a characteristic of the noun, so an adjective
> Sitting for a long time can cause back problems - the subject of the sentence, so a gerund
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks sir...
sir I want to mention another sentence...
1.Education is enlightening.
Here 'enlightening' is participle as adjective?

Hello AminulIslam.
I would say that in this sentence 'enlightening' is an adjective. The verb 'enlighten' is usually a transitive verb so I would expect it to have an object.
I would not worry too much about identifying whether a particular present participle is functioning as an adjective or a verb, to be honest. It is often unclear (both are possibilities) and it does not seem to me that the knowledge will help you to use English better in any case.
The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me?

I have a question.

a. Shouting loudly, Peter walked home.
b. Peter, shouting loudly, walked home.
c. Peter walked home, shouting loudly.
d. Peter walked home shouting loudly.

a = b = c = d

Is this right?

Hello generalenglish
I'd say d is the most natural, and then a. It would be a little unusual to write b or c.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi dear teachers,
I have a question about 'present participle' and 'perfect participle'.

"when I was younger I made a lot of money, and now I don't have any money problems."

can change this with perfect participle,although in 'when clause' I have used simple past,'made money' as following?

#having made money, I don't have any money problems.

because as I know,if correctly!, it is not the matter of time used in the first example(simple past) ,the process of 'making money' finished before the second action ' no problem with money' matters.

Best regards

Hi Mohsen,

We would probably keep the context in the sentence: Having made money when I was younger, I don't have...


Otherwise, you are correct. Well done!



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
I'd like to know what kind of adjective this word English-speaking as in "an English-speaking country" is.
Can I say this is noun modifier or participle?