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see also Longman Advanced Grammar Unit 13

Present participles describe an action which is still happening at the moment the action is set in: He dived into the sea to save the drowning child. They watched the burning forest. Past participles describe the result of an action that has happened: He looked at the broken chair. The completed statue looked very lifelike. PARTICIPLES AS REDUCED RELATIVE CLAUSES When participles come after a noun, they are like reduced relative clauses: I met a woman (who was) riding a horse. The man (who was) being interviewed by the police was suspected of murder. PARTICIPLES IN ADVERB CLAUSES 1. clauses can describe actions that are going on simultaneously: She sat by the fire reading a magazine and sipping a mug of ovaltine. He went to bed dressed only in a pair of socks. 2. Participle clauses can describe actions that are happening consecutively: Opening his bag, he took out a packet of tissues. Released from its cage, the canary flew round the room. 3. It is important to show that the first action has finished before the second begins: Having finished his homework, he had a shower. 4. Participle clauses can express the idea of because Being a mean person, he never spent anything on anybody else. Not knowing what to do, he stood in the rain and got soaked. Weakened by years of bad health, she could hardly walk a step. 5. Participle clauses can express the idea of result: It rained every day, ruining our holiday.(which ruined our holiday.) 6. Participle clauses can express the idea of if: Taken regularly, pollen can revitalise your state of health. 7. Participle clauses can be introduced by the following: while, when, after, by, on, since. While studying in Madrid, he met his future wife. When leaving the bus, remember to take all your belongings. After waving her off at the station, he felt lonely and empty. I paid my debts by taking on another job.*NOT I paid my debts taking on another job.* On entering the room, I noticed that everyone was staring at me. Since arriving in Barcelone, Ive learnt a lot of Catalan. Take care when since means because in this case the participle is used alone. Eg. Since she didn't have enough money, she couldnt buy herself a new coat. NB - IN PARTICIPLE CLAUSES THE SUBJECT OF THE CLAUSE AND THE SUBJECT OF THE MAIN VERB MUST BE THE SAME. Exceptions to this rule: There being no food, we couldnt eat./It being too late to take the tube, we got a taxi.