Participle clauses

Do you know how to use participle clauses to say information in a more economical way?

Look at these examples to see how participle clauses are used.

Looked after carefully, these boots will last for many years.
Not wanting to hurt his feelings, I avoided the question. 
Having lived through difficult times together, they were very close friends.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar B1-B2: Participle clauses: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Participle clauses enable us to say information in a more economical way. They are formed using present participles (going, reading, seeing, walking, etc.), past participles (gone, read, seen, walked, etc.) or perfect participles (having gone, having read, having seen, having walked, etc.). 

We can use participle clauses when the participle and the verb in the main clause have the same subject. For example,

Waiting for Ellie, I made some tea. (While I was waiting for Ellie, I made some tea.)

Participle clauses do not have a specific tense. The tense is indicated by the verb in the main clause. 

Participle clauses are mainly used in written texts, particularly in a literary, academic or journalistic style. 

Present participle clauses

Here are some common ways we use present participle clauses. Note that present participles have a similar meaning to active verbs. 

  • To give the result of an action
    The bomb exploded, destroying the building.
  • To give the reason for an action
    Knowing she loved reading, Richard bought her a book.
  • To talk about an action that happened at the same time as another action
    Standing in the queue, I realised I didn't have any money.
  • To add information about the subject of the main clause
    Starting in the new year, the new policy bans cars in the city centre.

Past participle clauses

Here are some common ways that we use past participle clauses. Note that past participles normally have a passive meaning.

  • With a similar meaning to an if condition
    Used in this way, participles can make your writing more concise. (If you use participles in this way, … )
  • To give the reason for an action
    Worried by the news, she called the hospital.
  • To add information about the subject of the main clause
    Filled with pride, he walked towards the stage.

Perfect participle clauses

Perfect participle clauses show that the action they describe was finished before the action in the main clause. Perfect participles can be structured to make an active or passive meaning.

Having got dressed, he slowly went downstairs.
Having finished their training, they will be fully qualified doctors.
Having been made redundant, she started looking for a new job.

Participle clauses after conjunctions and prepositions

It is also common for participle clauses, especially with -ing, to follow conjunctions and prepositions such as before, after, instead of, on, since, when, while and in spite of.

Before cooking, you should wash your hands. 
Instead of complaining about it, they should try doing something positive.
On arriving at the hotel, he went to get changed.
While packing her things, she thought about the last two years.
In spite of having read the instructions twice, I still couldn’t understand how to use it.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar B1-B2: Participle clauses: 2

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Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 08:36


please have a look at a part of a newspaper report from Newspaper--- 1.The survivor in 2017 actor sexual assault has approached the Hight court seeking to restrain the crime branch from fiiling its final report. SIR, would it be wrong to put preposition (OF )instead of (IN) in the sentece (The survivor of 2017actor sexual assault........) Please reply!!!

Hello Gopal Debnath,

Neither sentence is completely correct as it stands. You could say either of these:

1.The survivor in a 2017 sexual assault case (involving an actor) has approached the High Court seeking to prevent the crime branch from filing its final report

2. The survivor of a 2017 sexual assault (involving an actor) has approached...



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 07:55


Sir, As we know, (At) shows a fixed/particular point and (In) shows large space, so Can, In the first sentence [remembrance of my grandfather] be accepted as a fixed point because It tells about only one person??; Whereas In the 2nd example it is told about [the remembrance of martyrs of 1972 war] Can we take it as large space/ prospect.
Hence, In 1st sentence (AT) is suitable and In 2nd sentence (In) is suitable to me.
1.At/In the remembrance of my grandfather, a ceremony was held at the church.
2. In/At the remembrance of martyrs of 1972 war, a programme will be held under the supervision of Home Ministry.
Please let me know If I am correct.

Hello Gopal,

It's not clear to me if 'the remembrance' refers to a ceremony, i.e. what is often called a 'memorial service', or if it's more abstract, i.e. referring more to people remembering those who have passed on.

If it's the latter, i.e. if that first clause clarifies the purpose of the ceremony or programme, then the phrase commonly used is 'In remembrance of' (notice that it's not 'in *the* remembrance of').

So unless I've misunderstood the intended meaning, only 'in' is correct in sentence 1. In sentence 2, if the word 'remembrance' means the same thing as it does in sentence 1, then 'in' is the only correct option.

But if 'the remembrance' refers to a bigger event, of which the programme is a smaller part, then I'd chose 'at'. Though I think 'in' could also be OK.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Understood and the latter meaning is what I have perceived form an error detection book on English. Thank you sir!!
Sir, I would like to draw your attention to one point that 'remembrance'(=memorial service) is the main purpose and ceremony is a one of its parts, so we should use preposition IN instead of AT. As It(=remembrance) is the main purpose and rest of the thing is a one of its parts, It(=remembrance) must be considered to be a large space.
As we know, one of the meaning of IN is that It can express the meaning of (Inside and intention/pupose).
Please let me know if my explation holds water.

Submitted by shell on Sun, 17/04/2022 - 20:59


sir i want to ask a question whats the difference between perfect participle and perfect gerund when do we know having +v3 is used as gerund or participle

Hi shell,

It's a good question! But there isn't a clear answer here. It is often ambiguous whether to call it a participle or a gerund. On this page we have used the term 'participle', but you may find other references that use the term 'gerund', and some sources prefer to call them simply '-ing forms' to avoid this confusion.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Fri, 15/04/2022 - 20:51


Hello team, I have come again with a new problem of preposition, and I hope you will help me as you do alway.
As we know, Prepositon is a relating word which relates a noun or a pronoun after it to another parts of speech in a sentence,and gives a complete sense.
I have found myself in a fix at one question-----[ I saw the man at the grocery store.] Here, does the preposition,AT, relate the grocery store to the verb, SAW or a man ??
If I ask myself where did I saw the man ??, the answer is AT the grocery store
the whole preposition phrase is acting as an adverb.
Please make me be out of this baffling problem !!!

Hello Gopal Debnath,

In your sentence 'at the store' is a prepositional phrase. Prepositional phrases add more information to nouns, adjectives or verbs so they can have adjectival or adverbial functions in the sentence.

In your example the function is ambiguous. The prepositional phrase could describe where you saw the man (Where did I see the man?) or it could describe where the man was when you saw him (Which man did you see?). Without a broader context it is not possible to resolve this ambiguity.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Parikenan on Thu, 14/04/2022 - 13:48


Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

I would like to know if it is grammatically correct to say,
"I would recommand not visiting the museum."

Thank you.

Hi Parikenan,

Yes, it is correct. It's also possible to say I would not recommend visiting the museum, but the meaning is slightly different. In your sentence, the speaker is recommending something (not visiting). In my sentence, the speaker is not.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Thu, 14/04/2022 - 11:47


Hello Team, You all have been doing a commendable job here by clearing our doubts!!
My question is to Mr. Jonathan R
Sir, I have found two examples , , , one is from merriam Webster and the other one is from a english daily. Here are they-----
1.Using cookie cutters, the children made zoomorphic treats to bring to the bake sale.( source-Merriam Webster)
2. Using OTP pin code, a customer can withdraw cash from an ATM.(Source-Newspaper)
In both cases, the participle phrases have been used as adverb of manner, but as we know, adverb of manner does not directly hepls an action be done[i.e. A group of protesters have been protesting furiously against the president of Srilanka; Here "furiously" is an adverb of manner. It just shows the way in which one action is done, not the way by which one action is done: In simple words, we can say adverb of manner gives a circumstance or an ambient]
Is my explanation on adverb of manner correct??
To make them grammartically correct, can I use preposition(BY) before them to show that they have been used in these two contexts as ADVERB OF MEANS??
If I miss anything or interpret anything wrongly, please correct me.
Eagerly waiting for your precious reply, sir........

Hi Gopal,

These sentences are already grammatically correct. Yes, you can add 'by' to show that the Using clauses are the means. But the clauses also make sense as the manner (i.e., the circumstances of the action). Note that the verb 'use' is quite general in meaning. If the verb was more specific, as in the examples below, then only the 'means' interpretation would be possible, not manner, and 'by' would be needed.

  • By placing cookie cutters on the dough and cutting out shapes, the children made zoomorphic treats.
  • By inputting their OTP pin code, a costumer can withdraw cash.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, sir for clearing this. I saw the defination of "Use" at longman dictionary which states- "Use something " means If you use a tool, method etc, you do something with that tool, by means of methode etc, for particular purpose.

Hi Gopal,

Right. In that definition, "do something" and "etc" show that the meaning is quite general.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by anna from germany on Sun, 10/04/2022 - 21:32


Hi there,

Would you please help me to shorten this sentence using a participle construction:

Because it has been used for a longer time, your favourite T-shirt has a good ecological footprint. =
-->Beeing used for a longer time, your favourite T-shirt has a good ecological footprint.
-->Having been used for a longer time, your favourite T-shirt has a good ecological footprint.

Can I also start the sentence with "Because"?

Thank you!

Hi Anna,

I would choose the second sentence because it includes Having been used, which is closer to the structure of the original sentence (has been used). The first sentence with Being used may be possible, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the action (used for a longer time) is already finished, as the second sentence does. The first sentence might refer to using the T-shirt for a longer time extending into the future.

Because can't be used with the participle clause. It needs to be followed by a subject and verb, not an -ing form verb.

I hope that helps!


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by HieuNT on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 11:30


Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

I came across this article:

"We all wanted to see him tear it up at FC Barcelona but his health comes first.

His 426th and last ever goal came in his first El Classico, classic Kun always stepping up in the biggest game."

I have two questions for you:

1/ Why did they say "We all wanted"? I suppose even now the fan still want Aguero to shine at Barclenona. Shouldn't they have used "want" instead of "wanted"? My explanation could be because Aguero can no longer play football, so everything has to stay in the past, an so does the verb "want", right?

2/ Why did they use the participle clauses "classic Kun always stepping up in the biggest games" here? Is it "to add information about the subject of the main clause"?

Look forward to your answers.

Hi HieuNT,

About 1, if you say "We all want to see him ...", that would mean that it is still possible for that to happen. But since it's not possible any more (because, as you may know, Kun Agüero has officially retired from football), "wanted" is the correct tense.

About 2, yes - you're along the right lines. The sentence is saying that scoring that goal on that important occasion was him "stepping up in the biggest game".

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mainsdorff on Mon, 14/02/2022 - 11:10



Thanks for this useful post! Can you help figure out if the following sentence is correct?

"Doing groceries for home, it’s easy to lose your mind and buy too much."

To me it seems wrong. Shouldn't the main clause start with "you", not the anonymous "it" — "Doing groceries for home, you can lose …"

If my suspicion is correct, could explain the grammar behind it?

Hi mainsdorff,

It's true that the implied subject of a participle clause (e.g. Doing groceries from home) is usually the same as the subject of the main clause. However, this is not always the case.

I think the important thing to note is that the participle clause has an implied subject, rather than an explicit one. That means that the reader/listener must make some inference about it. In this example, although the grammatical subject of the main clause is it, as you pointed out, this is only a dummy subject and refers to lose your mind. So, it's clear enough that the intended meaning for readers/listeners is that 'you' is the subject of 'doing groceries'. This is not considered an error as long as the intended meaning is clear.

Your version of the sentence is also fine and means the same thing.

Does that make sense?


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Mon, 07/02/2022 - 07:47


Sir, I have come across a new sentence in one of India's leading dailies.

1.Mr.Reddy shoot to fame defeating Mr. Narshima rao,former Prime minster of India.
Here, (Defeating Mr. Narshima rao) gives the answer of How Mr. Reddy shoot to fame.
But, It is adverb of means or methode instead of adverb of manner.
So can I put preposition"BY" before "Defeating".

2. Criticizing the government about snooping on the private life through pegasus, Opposition leader raised questions on the intention of the Government.

Here, (Criticizing....) gives the answer of How opposition leader raised questions.And, it is the adverb of manner instead of adverb of means or methode
3. Sitting on a bench in the park, Two elderly persons discussed
about the current situation.
Here, (Sitting on a bench in the park) gives the answer of what is state of them instead of how they discussed.
So, (-ing form ) is simply acting as an adjective by modifying the subject(Two elderly persons)
Can I also re-write this vey one in this way [just by placing "While" before "SITTING"]--
While Sitting on a bench in the park, Two elderly persons..........
Here (While.....) phrase is acting as adverb of time.
SO, Can I draw a conclusion that Participle phrase can act as an ADJECTIVE AND ADVERB as well.
Please reply to me whether the above explanations are valid, especially the THIRD ONE.

Waiting eagerly for your reply Mr. peter M or Mr.Jhonathan.🙏

Hi Gopal Debnath,

1. Yes, you can add 'by' if 'defeating Mr. Narshima rao' is the means of shooting to fame. But could 'defeating Mr. Narshima rao' be the result of shooting to fame, rather than the means? To me, reading the sentence alone, it could also mean that, and it is unclear which meaning is intended.

2. It could be the manner or the means (in which case, I would prefer to add 'by'). Both make sense to me.

3. Yes, you can add 'while'. These are two independent, simultaneous actions. But "Sitting on a bench in the park" is an adverbial that modifies the whole other clause. It doesn't just modify "Two elderly persons". It's not an adjective because the meaning is not that the elderly persons are "sitting-on-a-bench-in-the-park elderly persons". Sitting on the bench is just an action simultaneous to their discussion. 

If it functioned as an adjective, it would be "Two elderly persons sitting on a bench in the park discussed the current situation." When it functions as an adjective, the participle clause usually directly follows the noun.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, In 3rd example Can I call the participle phrase a sentence adverb??
because It is modifying the whole clause rather than the subject( Two elderly persons) or the verb( discussing..).
While waiting for your valuable reply to my questions, I have come across a few new sentences from an online source; They are---
1. A little boy went out of the room, crying.
Here, (Crying) is neither modifying the subject(A little boy) nor the verb( went).But, it is modifying the complete clause and It( crying) is an Independent action occurring at the same time frame.
2. A drunk person went staggering.
It is given the (Staggering) is an adverb of manner because It is answering to the question of how that drunk person went.
But, To me ,It seems as adverb of means because One action ( went) depends on the other action(staggering) to be accomplished Or I can see this in this way that (That drunk person went) as result of (Staggering) ????
Do my explanations hold water??
Kindly reply,sir!!!

Hi Gopal Debnath,

I guess you could think of it as a sentence adverbial. However, the term 'sentence adverb' normally refers to a word such as 'Unfortunately' or 'Honestly' which expresses the writer's opinion.

I agree with you about sentence 1.

About sentence 2, I should point out that the verb 'went' seems incomplete, and it should be 'went out', 'went past', 'went home', etc. I also understand 'staggering' as the manner. If it is not the manner but the means, the sentence should provide clearer information about the method of the man going out/past/home, e.g. That drunk person went out, (by) staggering though the doorway.

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Last one doubt: 1. An elderly man slipped and fell on the ground.
To transform this sentence into a simple sentence, I can see the above sentence in this way---
(fell) is the result of the action, SLIP
,but the he did not intend to slip.
It happened unintentionally,so It is an impersonal cause
so, 1. by being slipped, An elderly fell on the ground.
2. Being slipped, An elderly man fell on the ground.
Which one is correct??
Please explain explicitly,sir!!

Hello Gopal,

Neither of those are correct. 'slip' is an intransitive verb and so doesn't make sense in the passive.

You could say 'Slipping, an elderly man fell on the ground' or 'Having slipped, ...', but really the most natural sentence would be 1.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Is it personal cause??
to me, It is impersonal cause, because he did not intend to slip.
Please clear this doubt by explaining explicitly!!

Hello Gopal,

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the framework of 'personal' or 'impersonal' causes that you seem to be using to analyse this grammar.

As I think we've mentioned before, we're not able to provide the service of regularly analysing sentences that our users create, as our main purpose in the comments is to help our users with the materials available on our site. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Jonathan sir, At first thank you for replying.
Last examples--
1.Two friends went trekking in the cherad Hill and they tried to cross a crevice, jumping, but one of them got stuck in crevice.The other succeeded. Then, he went down the hill to get help of some people. While he is midway, a tiger came out of bush,jumping.

Here, (1).Is (Trekking) gerund (2) both (Jumping) is acting as an adverb of manner.

2. My friend was driving a car at moderate speed,but a taxi driver suddenly came before him and he had to stop his car (by) pressing break to avoid an accident.
Here, (PRESSING) is acting as an adverb of manner rather than that of means or methode, Because manner means the way in which one performed an action and means indicates the methode with which one performed an action.
Here, It seems to me as an adverb of means. If I am wrong in my explanations ,please correct me by explaining explicitly.
Please do reply!!

Submitted by Parikenan on Sun, 30/01/2022 - 22:33


Hello The LearningEnglish team,

I have often misplaced these two prepositions, "to" for "for" or vice versa. Especially when it (the preposition) is followed by gerund phrases.

I have got a paragraph as an example here.

“At the end of the lunch, I asked David if he thought it would be possible to create a small, easy-to-use guide “to” reading a company's financial statement, using the unique set of tools Warren had developed “for” uncovering these wonderfully profitable businesses.”

From the sentences above, If I misplaced “to” reading with “for” reading and “for” uncovering with “to” uncovering, would it much change the fundamental meaning of the sentences ?

And, is there a formula related to the use of these two prepositions
( to and for ) that are followed by gerund phrases ?

Thank You,
Hudi Parikenan.

Hello Parikenan,

Mastering when to use 'to' and 'for' is indeed a significant challenge. While there are some patterns to their use, ultimately the reason we use one or the other depends on the phrases they appear with and what the meaning is.

The main thing to consider is the word or phrase before the preposition. In the first example from your passage, 'to' is used with 'guide'. By taking a look in a good dictionary (e.g. this Longman entry, you can find 'guide to' under entry 3. As it shows, a 'guide to X' is a book that explains topic X. That fits the meaning of your passage, where the guide explains how to read the financial statement.

By the way, although it's more difficult to find, if you search that same dictionary entry, you can also see 'guide for' in the 4th example in the 'Examples from the Corpus' section. In that sentence ('A guide for hospital staff will be published shortly ...') note that 'for' tells us about the people the guide was made for. So as you can see, it's possible to use both 'to' and 'for' after 'guide', but the former tells us about the topic of the guide and the latter tells us about who it was written for.

Unfortunately, it's not always this easy, which we can see with the second example from your passage, where 'for' follows the verb 'had developed' and clearly speaks about purpose. Some research in the same dictionary shows only one use of 'developed for' and none of 'developed to'. In the case of the Cambridge Dictionary (, I could find 'developed to allow' (also talking about purpose, though notice here it's followed by an infinite and not an '-ing' form) and none of 'developed for'.

In a case like this, it's probably safest to use 'develop' + an infinitive of purpose since an infinitive of purpose is used in many different contexts. But using 'for' + an '-ing' form is also correct here, even if it's more difficult to find in dictionaries.

I wish there were a clearer formula that I could give you, but as far as I know there isn't.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by HieuNT on Fri, 21/01/2022 - 20:35


Hello The LearningEnglish team,

I have some questions about reducing relative clause with participle clause.

1) Can we reduce a non-defining relative clause? For example:
a1> The house, built in 1883, has just been opened to the public.
a2> Alice, working in Brussels and London ever since leaving Edinburgh, will be starting a teaching course in the autumn.

Or we have to write out the full clause:
b1>The house, which was built in 1883, has jut been opened to the public.
b2> Alice, who has worked in Brussels and London ever since leaving Edinburgh, will be starting a teaching course in the autumn.

In these examples, if <a1> and <a2> are possible, can we use it in writing, especially in formal contexts?

2) In this example:
> The bomb exploded, destroying the whole building.

Can we replace the participle clause ('destroying...') with 'which' that refers to the whole previous clause ('The bomb exploded')?
> The bomb exploded, which destroyed the whole building.

If so, can we say that we have used the participle clause to reduce the which-clause?

Between a participle clause and 'which' (refers to a previous clause), which is preferred in writing (more formal contexts).

Look forward to your answers.
Hieu Nguyen

Hello Hieu Nguyen,

Both a1 and a2 are perfectly acceptable in both written and spoken English.

I dislike the term 'reduced relative clause', to be honest. Grammatically speaking, it's a misnomer. The correct way to think about these sentences is not that you are taking a relative clause and reducing it, but rather that you are choosing between two possible clauses: a relative clause and a participle (-ed or -ing) clause. Thus, the real question is not 'Can relative clauses be reduced?' but 'Is it possible to use participle clauses here?'

In your second example both the relative clause and the participle clause are correct. I don't think either is more preferable in written English. Rather, it's a question of personal style, consistency within the text and rhetorical effect.

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Mr. Peter,

While waiting for the answers, I did some research myself and I'm aware that the term "reduced relative clause" is a misnomer. But honestly, I've never thought the issue could be easily resolved by making the problem become the choice between a relative clause and a participle clause . Your answer really gave me a different perspective on this topic. I really thank you for that!

However, there's still something bothering me. I came across this article on the Cambridge blog. (

In the article, the author argues that "it is not usually grammatical to reduce non-identifying adjective clauses when the verb is in the continuous form (is studying) or passive (is built).", which means sentences like these would be incorrect:

a> Lynn, studying chemistry, wants to become a doctor.
b> My parents' house, damaged in the hurricane, was a complete disaster.

Instead, he said that we should "reduce non-identifying adjective clause" if "the reduction" create an appositive clause (that is, a clause which essentially gives another name to the noun it modifies), as in:

c> Lynn, (who is) my neighbour, is studying chemistry.
d> My parents' house, (which is) located near the beach, survived the hurricane.

To be honest, I don't see much difference between his 4 examples. I think we can kind of "reduce" all of them as you said.

Also, I've found some more examples in the "Oxford Guide to English Grammar by John Eastwood, section 276" supporting your explanation:

e> To Robin, sunbathing on the beach, all his problems seemed far away.
f> The first British TV commercial, broadcast in 1955, was for toothpaste.

The question here is that was the author of the article wrong? And we can always use a "participle clause" or an "adjective/adverbial phrase" or an "appositive" in the place of a full relative clause, can't we?

Hieu Nguyen

Hello again Hieu Nguyen,

I don't think the author is wrong as they hedge their comment with 'usually', making it a description of what is common or typical rather than a fixed rule. I think what they say is correct. For example, while both of these sentences are grammatically possible, the second is preferable in terms of style and convention:

1) Lynn, studying chemistry, wants to become a doctor.
2) Lynn, a chemistry student, wants to become a doctor.

I think the -ing clause is more common when we are describing an action in progress. In other words sentence 1 seems clumsy to me while sentence 2 is perfectly fine:

1) Lynn, studying chemistry, wants to become a doctor.
2) To Robin, sunbathing on the beach, all his problems seemed far away.

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Sun, 16/01/2022 - 07:36


1.While Taking a cup of coffee, My Grand father told us a story about his visit to Mussoorie.
sir, Can I drop "While"??
and rewrite this sentence above in this way--- [ Taking a cup of coffee, My grand father told us a story about his visit to Mussoorie OR My grand father, taking a cup of coffee, told us a story about his visit to Mussoorie.]
2. My dog snores while sleeping.
Can I drop "While" in this sentence too??
and, Rewrite it in this way ----[My dog snores sleeping OR Sleeping, My dog snores].
Please do reply!!🙏🙏

Hello Gopal,

Yes, you could drop 'while' and yes, you could rewrite the sentence as you suggest. I would use a different style, but these are all fine grammatically.

In the second sentence, I wouldn't rewrite the sentence in either of the ways you suggest.

As I think Peter and Jonathan have suggested, I'd recommend you analyse participle clauses that you find in your reading or listening as a way to learn how they are used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Gopal,

How exactly I'd write them would depend on the context, but for the first one I might say: My grandfather had a cup of coffee and told us about his visit to Mussoorie.

Your first version of the second sentence ('My dog snores while sleeping') is fine, or I might just say 'My dog snores', since snoring implies one is sleeping.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Tue, 04/01/2022 - 13:28


Sir(Jonathan), I would like to draw to your kind attention to have a look at the contexts and get your suggestion if I have made any mistake in transforming the sentence into simple sentence. 1.In Afghanistan, Many people were uprooted and they have taken shelter in many countries such as-India, France, U.S.A etc. can I transform it into simple sentence ---- since,[ (Many people were uprooted) shows the cause, but It is a impersonal cause and It was not a motivation for them to leave their mother-land.And, the rest is its effect(result) Now, I wonder which preposition I shall choose between IN and BY, or both are suitable in this context.] (In/By) being uprooted from Afghanistan, Many people have taken shelter in many countries such as- India,France,U.S.A,etc. 2. the father of my dearest friend got infected with Covid-19 and, as a result, he died prematurely. can I write it in simple sentence-- [(the father of my dearest friend got infected with Covid-19) shows cause, but it is an impersonal cause. And the rest is the result] (In/By) getting infected with Covid-19, the father of my dearest friend died prematurely. Are my explanations correct?? Please do reply sir!!!

Hi Gopal Debnath,

Actually I would use "After" instead of "by" or "in" in these two sentences.

"By" shows the method of doing something. But it often implies a deliberate choice (e.g. "By studying hard, she improved her knowledge"), which does not fit in your sentences.

"In" shows that the one action is an integral part of another (see the examples in point 8 on this page: That means the actions normally happen together: when one happens, the other also happens at the same time. "In" might work in your first sentence if we understand "uprooted" and "taken shelter" as happening at the same time, but I would normally think some time passes between these actions, so I would use "after" as my first choice. "In" doesn't work in the second example because some time must pass between one action and the other.

I hope that helps.

The LearnEnglish Team

But, sir, The statement written by you does not show any 'reason' except 'time'. I would like to draw one example discussed by Peter M. Here it is--
By destroying the world's forests, human-being has hastened the effect of global warming.(Mr. Peter M told me to add preposition BY)
If I change this simple sentence into complex and compound sentence, It would look like ----
1. Human-being are destroying the world's forests ,and, as a result, the effect of global warming has been hastened.(Compound)
2. Human-being has hastened the effect of global warming because they are destroying the world's forests.(which is clearly not personal cause and motivation for them; one action causes the other action)
[By destroying the world's forests, human-being has hastened the effect of global warming]
In this sentence [(By destroying the world's forests) does not show any deliberate choice.
so, One request to you that please explain it clearly.
I would be obliged to you if You(Jonathan) and Peter M discuss this explicitly.
Will be wating for your reply!!!
Please do reply!!🙏🙏

Hi Gopal Debnath,

‘By’ shows a method or means by which something is done. Yes, it’s true that it’s not always a deliberate choice. But my point was that that is a typical context for using ‘by’. Returning to your examples, ‘being uprooted’ is the cause of ‘taking shelter’ but is it the method or means? A method/means leads more directly to the result. A more typical means would be, e.g. ‘By crossing borders, many people have taken shelter in other countries’. That is why I suggested using ‘after’ in your sentence instead.

You say that ‘after’ does not show any reason, only time. But in real life, we infer that cause/effect relationship, because the actions make sense that way. It would be unlikely for someone to interpret them as unconnected. This may not be apparent if your focus is on transforming the sentence from one structure to another in a kind of mathematical way, as you are trying to do. But language is not a mathematical system, and even some apparently equivalent sentences such as “The virus infected him” and “He was infected by the virus” differ in nuance, emphasis and context of usage. The point is that meaning comes not just from individual words but also from the sentence/text overall, and the context in which it is said or written. Without considering these other levels of meaning, the sentences you make may be grammatically possible but sound unusual, as we have pointed out before.

This is a good example of why finding a private teacher would be better for these questions. Your questions raise multiple issues needing corrections and explanations, which is difficult to do in the comments here. That makes us worry that our answers may be confusing you rather than helping. Also, by replying further, we don’t want to take you further down the road of a narrow focus on grammar, which we have already recommended against.
So I’m sorry to say that we think it is better not to continue these discussions here any more, but instead suggest that you find a teacher who can interact more closely with you than we can. Or, perhaps you may like to try a discussion forum – have you heard of Stack Exchange?

We wish you the best in your studies.

The LearnEnglish Team