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


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

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 ?