In English, participle clauses are mainly used in writing in order to put a lot of information into one sentence.
They are very similar to adverbial clauses in that participial clauses often express condition, reason, cause, result or time in a similar way to full adverbial clauses, only more economically.
In written English participial clauses can be very useful, and when the subject in the participle clause is the same as the participle in the main clause, they make it possible say the same thing, but with fewer words.
I saw an accident ahead, so I stopped my car.(normal sentence)
Seeing an accident ahead, I stopped my car.(present participle clause)
There are three kinds of participles in English: present participle, past participle and perfect participle.
Crying, she ran out of the house.(present participle clause)
Given the facts, the press were satisfied.(past participle clause)
Having eaten the chicken, the dog tried to hide.(perfect participle clause)
Participle clauses often follow conjunctions and prepositions. Participle clauses, with -ing particularly, can be used after various conjunctions and prepositions, such as: when, while, before, after, on, without, instead of.
After taking everything into consideration, we decided to sell the house.(participle clause)
Negative participle clauses are also possible, in which case not normally comes before the -ing form or past participle:
Not having had a shower for two days, I was desperate to get to the bathroom.(participle clause)
Note that this passive structure can also be used in participle clauses as an alternative to a since-clause:
Having been unemployed for over two years, I found it difficult to get work.(participle clause)
Things to remember:
- Participle clauses and main clauses nearly always have the same subject.
- The less important part becomes the participle clause. Important information should always be in the main clause.
- Make sure, you use the correct participle form.
- The conjunctions as, because, since and relative pronouns who, which are left out.
- The conjunctions before and when are used in the participle clause.
- The conjunctions after, while can be used or left out.