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 SonuKumar,

I'm afraid I'm not completely sure what your sentence is supposed to mean. Perhaps 'Are you the kind of person who needs to be ...'? If so, you're right, a reduced relative clause cannot be used in it because reduced relative clauses are used to modify the subject of a sentence.

In any case, reduced relative clauses are fairly rare, used mostly in quite formal writing or speaking. It would sound quite odd for you to actually use this in a conversation.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I am waiting here.
Wanted to speak to him about the contract, I am waiting here.

Do these tow sentences have the same meaning, in case not what are the differences?

Best Wishes,

Hello khuder,

The first sentence is correct; the second is incorrect.

The reason is that particile clauses with present participles (-ing) have an active meaning while those with past participles (-ed) have a passive meaning. Here, it is the speaker ('I') who is waiting and so a present participle is required. The past participle would have a meaning of *I was waited* here, which does not make sense. Indeed, 'wait' is an intransitive verb so it does not have a passive form in any case.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk
I mean to say that in case of first conditional sentences, "if clause" is replaced by a past participle if we want to shorten it. For example,
Came on time, I will teach you the whole chapter about Conditionals. (If you come on time, I will teach you the whole chapter about condtionals)
Does it sound correct that I have started my first sentence with "came"?

Hello Zynah,

No, I'm afraid we can't replace the if-clause in that way. It is possible to use a present participle but the meaning then is not conditional:

Coming on time, he taught the whole chapter.

This would mean 'He came on time and so taught...'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Could I use the structure 'Having done' With future tense like- having had my lunch at 1:00 'O' clock at the afternoon I will catch my train at 2:00 p.m, or Should I Only use 'after doing' with future tense ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Yes, you can use a participle clause like that -- your sentence is correct. Participle clauses are a bit rare in ordinary speaking and writing, however. You're much more likely to hear or see 'after having' instead of 'having had'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I am a bit confused here. If we want to shorten a long sentence starting with an if clause then we will use a past participle in the beginning. But for all the sentences with a past participle in it , we are using a present participle in the beginning. Am I correct? This is what i have understood.

Hello Zynah, The subject of the participle must also be the subject of the other verb.

Hello Zynah,

Could you please give an example of what you mean? Participle clauses cannot replace all kinds of conditional sentences and are not regularly used to do so.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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