Read the grammar explanation and do the exercise.

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, reason, result or time. For example:

 

CONDITION (in place of 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.

 

REASON (in place of words like so or therefore):

Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I decided to arrange a meeting.

Compare: I wanted to speak to him about the contract so I decided to arrange a meeting.

 

RESULT (in place of words like because or as a result):

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 (in place of 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

Dear Peter M,

Good day! Thank you so much for your previous comments on some issues which I got confused about. However, I need your valuable comments on the following two sentences regarding the meaning of participle clauses:

1. Economists often criticize rent control, arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living.

What is the meaning of participle clause 'arguing that it is a highly inefficient way to help the poor raise the standard of living' in the above sentence? How could the sentence have been restructured by using a dependent clause instead of participle clause?

2. For low levels of quantity supplied, the elasticity of supply is high, indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price.

What is the meaning of participle clause 'indicating that firms respond substantially to changes in the price'? How could the sentence have been restructured by using a dependent clause instead of participle clause?

Hello, Peter M & Kirk!

Hope everything is going great at your end. I am seeking your valuable comments on the usage of 'by directly controlling the price' in the following sentence which I came across in my economics text.

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome by directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Wouldn't be grammatically correct writing 'directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone instead'? Would there be any difference in meaning, though grammatically correct?

It would be highly appreciated from my end if you could provide some other examples of using by + verb+ ing and the reasons of using that structure.

Hello learner2018,

We use 'by + -ing' (by + object (gerund)) to show the method or technique by which something was done:

I made my fortune by investing in a tech company.

She scared the tiger away by sounding her car horn repeatedly.

 

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome by directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Here, the meaning is clear: the method for altering the market outcome is the direct control of the price of an ice-cream cone.

 

Each of these two groups (consumers and sellers) lobbies the government to pass laws that alter the market outcome, directly controlling the price of an ice-cream cone.

Here, the meaning is different. The laws change the market outcome, and that results in the direct control of the.... In other words, by omitting 'by' we have changed the cause (method) into a result or co-occuring event.

 

This is quite common:

I answered, laughing. [I was laughing as I answered]

I answered by laughing. [The laugh was my answer]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
My friend was an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable proformer but a composer of no ordinary merit.

My friend was an enthusiastic musician and he was not only a very capable proformer but a composer of no ordinary merit.

I think these two sentences say the same thing don't they ?

Hi SonuKumar,

Yes, I understand the same thing, though the first one has an awkward structure -- the second one sounds much more natural. Please note that the word 'proformer' should be 'performer'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Peter M & Kirk!

Good day! I have come across the sentence in a finance text:

If management so desired, a firm could issue some bonds and use the proceeds to buy back some stock, thereby increasing the debt–equity ratio.

I have two queries regarding the above sentence:

1. Is 'Increasing' a 'gerund' or a 'participle'? why?
2. Can I replace 'thereby increasing the debt–equity ratio' with 'which increases the debt–equity ratio'? What function does perform 'thereby' in the sentence?

I would be grateful if you could give your valuable comments on it.

Hello learner2018,

The word 'thereby' is an adverb which means 'in this way' or 'through this'. Grammatically, you could use a relative clause (...which increases...) but it does change the meaning. The relative clause tells us the effect of the buy-back, whereas 'thereby' carries a suggestion of intention – it suggests that increasing the ratio was a goal, not just an incidental effect.

In this sentence, 'increasing' is a participle, not a gerund. It introduces a participle clause.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

Thank you for valuable comments on this issue. Now, the meaning of 'thereby' in the sentence is clear to me. However, could you please give me a further clarification why you considered 'thereby increasing the debt–equity ratio' as a participle clause. What is the adjectival or adverbial role performed by the clause?

Thanks in advance!

Hello learner2018,

Participle clauses are often used to show the effects (intended or accidental) of an action.

For example:

I spilt coffee on my laptop, ruining it completely. [When I spilt coffee on my laptop, I ruined it]

 

Your sentence works in the same way.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
A Thought or A Qoute can sometimes
be words of wisdom coming or come
out of someone's mouth.

Should I use 'Come Or Coming' in this sentence or Should I just simply write
'That come out of someone's mouth ?

Also Can I use the pronoun 'One' rather than 'Someone' ?

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