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 Sagir Mondal,

The problem with the example sentence you ask about is that the subject of the subordinate clause ('While walking home' -- it's not completely clear, but I suppose the subject is 'I') is not the same as the subject of the second clause ('my phone rang', subject = 'my phone'). The subjects must be the same in this kind of construction; if they are not, they are referred to as 'dangling participles'.

I'd suggest you take a look at a different Oxford Dictionary page that explains this in much more detail.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Can we use participle clauses in future sentences?
Regards
Aleya

Hello Aleya,

The time reference for participle clauses is always the same as the verb in the main clause and they can be used for any time reference, including future time. For example:

I will wait for you at the corner, wearing a red shirt and a black hat.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, She is going to bus stand with a purse held in her hand. Is this a right sentence using past participle 'Held' in it and Using past partciple with the preposition 'With' like in this sentense,what is this rule called ?

Hello SonuKumar,

Your sentence is not incorrect, though normally people would probably just say 'with a purse in her hand'. In your version of the sentence, 'held' is adjectival.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening, how can I know when to use present participle, past participle ir the perfect participle? Are there any rules?

Hello Hugoecc,

The differences between present and past participles in participle clauses are explained on this page. It is primarily a question of whether the meaning needed is active (present participle) or passive (past participle).

If you have a particular example in mind then please post it and we will try to help you with it.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, There's a sentence.
"She passes by me wearing a beautiful dress"
Now in this sentence why do we not use the past participle worn instead of present one, whereas The girl I'm talking about already has worn her dress completely the work is done even then why present participle and is there a way to make the same sentence using past participle ?

Hello SonuKumar,

As the information on the page says, present participles have an active meaning and past participles have a passive meaning. The girl is wearing the dress and so an active meaning is needed and a past participle would not be appropriate.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I'm a bit confused about using verb-ing after comma in a sentence. Basically, I'm not sure what kind of grammar it is and where I should use such structure. Below are two examples for your reference:
1) The engineer identified the problem, using the latest technology.
2) Teachers serve as inspiring role models for the students, living and embodying values they teach.
As can be seen in the examples above, -ing form of verb is used after comma. Could you please give me some advice about this structure and let me know when I can have this in my writing.
Best Regards,
Pedram

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