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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.

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.

Reduced Relative Clauses:

We can use participle clauses after a noun in the same way as relative clauses. This gives more
information about the noun. We sometimes call this a 'reduced relative clause'.

1: A present participle (verb + ing) can be used in the same way as an active relative clause:

The man driving the car is a friend of mine.


(= The man who is driving the car is a friend of mine).
The present participle can replace any active tense, not just the present continuous tense:

Lorries coming over the bridge have to be careful of the wind.


(= Lorries that come over the bridge have to be careful of the wind).
Who was the girl wearing the red dress?
(= Who was the girl who was wearing the red dress?).
Students handing in their essays late will lose ten marks.
(= Students who hand in their essays late will lose ten marks).
2: A past participle can be used in the same way as a simple passive relative clause:

We read the email sent by the manager.


(= We read the email that had been sent by the manager).
This vase, made in China in the 14th century, is very valuable.
(= This vase, which was made in China in the 14th century, is very valuable).
She only eats cakes made by her mother.
(= She only eats cakes that are made by her mother).
3: 'Being + past participle' can be used in the same way as a continuous passive relative clause:

The poem being read by the actor was written by my brother.


(= The poem that is being read by the actor was written by my brother).
The strawberries being eaten at the wedding were grown in Scotland.
(= The strawberries that are being eaten at the wedding…).

Present Participle

Indicates an action that happens simultaneously with the action in the main clause.
I saw Jack while he was parking in front of his house.
I saw Jack (while) parking in front of his house.

Indicates an action that happens just before the action in the main clause.

After / when he entered the room, he caught us sleeping.


Entering the room, he caught us sleeping.

Note:

The subject of the participle clause and the main clause cannot be different.

After / when he entered the room, everybody stood up.

Gives information about "time, reason and results".

Note:

Participle clause doesn't indicate a specific tense; instead, we should look at the main clause to
understand it.

Driving on the highway, one must be careful.(present)


Driving on the highway, he had an accident. (past)
Driving on the highway, you will see a big sign. (future)

Time

Opening the door, she saw me. (when she opened the door ...)

Note:

Instead of using the verb alone, we can also use the prepositions "on and upon" in the same way.

On / upon opening the door, she saw me.

Reason & Result

Having lots of work to do, Tom didn't want to come with us. (because he had lots of work to do...
Being rare, diamonds are very precious. (because diamonds are rare...)

Note: in negative form, we use "not" in the beginning.

Not wanting to tell the truth, the young boy made up an excuse.
Past Participle

Contrary to popular misuse, a past participle doesn't have a past meaning; but instead, it has a
similar usage to present participle but in passive form.

The little girl was taken to the nearest hospital after she was attacked by a dog.
Attacked by a dog, the little girl was taken to the nearest hospital.

The museum, which was built in 1953, needs renovation.


Built in 1953, the museum needs renovation.

The new night club, which is located on the beach side, attracts the attention of all ages.
Located on the beach side, the new night club attracts the attention of all ages.

Perfect Participle

Indicates an action that happens long before the action in the main clause.

After he had spent ten years in Italy, he could speak Italian fluently.
Having spent ten years in Italy, he could speak Italian fluently.

Because Tom had attended this course before, he knew what to expect.
Having attended this course before, Tom knew what to expect.

Note: to get passive form in perfect participle, we add "been" after "having".

Because he had been fired, he didn't attend the meeting.


Having been fired, he didn't attend the meeting.

Because he hadn't been invited to the wedding, he didn't come.


Not having been invited to the wedding, he didn't come.