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.

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Comments

Hello Sezin,

The first sentence sounds a bit unnatural to me. 'Having been shouted at, Peter walked home' would sound better, but still quite strange, as this structure isn't used in ordinary conversation, which this sentence appears to be an exmple of.

The second one is correct, but also a bit strange given its familiar tone. Susan is the person who was told the news (i.e. a different person told her) and is also of course the person who sat down and wept.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, could someone help me whether I can put in the following sentence the present continuous tense instead of the simple one?

Please read my message to the end.

Being students, they didn't have much money and they usually worked as waiters at weekends.

So it will be like "Being studens, they weren't having much money and they were working as waiters at weekends"

I have read all examples on the page but I don't think my sentence is like those.
I tried to compare it to

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.

but there is some difference. Realised seems to be a performed and single action. But in my sentence there are to have and work as so I can't think of them as of a performed and single action, it is continuous isn't it? But simple tense can be continuous as well, I know. So can the continuous tense be used there? If can't, tell me why because I can't even understand that thing.

Hello Ingresed,

The continuous aspect would not be used in this sentence. The first verb is 'have', used with a meaning of possession. 'Have' does not occur in the continuous with this meaning. We say 'I have some money' not 'I am having some money', for example.

The second verb appears with an adverb of frequency ('usually'). This shows that it is a regular or typical action and so a simple form is used. If, for example, this was a temporary action then 'were working' would be fine here, but with adverbs of frequency the simple form is much more common.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher,
'I was happy seeing him smile.' In this sentence, 'seeing' is considered gerund or participle? If it is the latter, what should the original sentence be? (before it is reduced to participle)
Thank you

Hello Kaisoo93,

This sentence is not completely unnatural, but the correct form in standard British English would be 'I was happy to see him smile'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Arvo there,

I've just got a question on grammar part which I cannot find it either via the Internet or in grammar books. we all know about participle phrases (or clause);" playing football, John broke his leg! " but there is other sentences that I cannot comprehend how they are formed: " speaking, I would say a vast majority of individuals all around the world have serious problems and they are just struggling to find a certain way", it means: "talking about 'speaking' (a skill in a certain language), I would say....". And maybe the original sentence was : if (or when) we are talking about speaking ( or if you ask me about speaking). Nevertheless, no matter which one the original sentence is, i'd like to know what's the rule behind that? ! How and when could I make sentences like this ?!

Hello Aminsoltani45,

To be perfectly honest, that looks like a very awkward construction to me - more like a person trying to replicate in English a structure that is used in another language. You could make a case for it being a form of ellipsis where the full sentence would be something like 'If I were speaking (on this topic)...' but guessing such things without knowing the context of the utterance makes little sense.

If I had to guess, I would say that this is not a standard construction and is either an attempt to recreate in English a form from another language, or else it is a particular rhetorical device using context-dependent ellipsis.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Are these two sentences right ?
"There are microphones fitted in this room"
"This room has microphones fitted in it"
Could I also use the verb 'set or fix' rather than fit in these sentences ?

Sir, In the sentence given above by Kasturi Das, He left home, denying and rejecting his own family. Now Because of a comma in this sentence we come to know easily that participles refer to the subject 'He' in this sentence but while listening this sentence or sentences like it How to Know what it refers to ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Participle clauses aren't used much in ordinary speaking, so it's not often that you'd hear a sentence like this. But if you did, there is no other sensible subject that the words could refer to, so that's how one can know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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