Help with participle clauses

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Help with participle clauses

Unread postby brainislost » 15 Feb 2011, 12:10

Hi there,

I really need some help trying to explain when we use certain participle clauses. What is the rule for using a present participle, past participle or a present perfect participle clause? My students (and me!) are finding it difficult to identify when you should use the different participles when transforming the sentences.

For example, the following sentences:

1) She was intrigued by the news and wanted to know more - Intrigued by the news she wanted to know more

2) James was delayed by the traffic on the motorway, so he was extremely late - delayed by the traffic on the motorway, James was extremely late.

3) She wasn't particularly interested in the talk and decided not to go - Not being particularly interested in the talk, she decided not to go.

4) She didn't make a very good impression at the interview and was worried that she wouldn't get the job - Not having made a good impression at the interview, she was worried she wouldn't get the job.

Why do we use these participles for these sentences? Is their a clear rule? For example, why do we use the "being" in 3) but not in 1) & 2)? Why do we using "having" in 4?

I'd appreciate if anyone could explain this to me, i'm really struggling with it!

Many thanks
Sam
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Re: Help with participle clauses

Unread postby Lucy » 17 Feb 2011, 12:07

Dear Sam,

I've inserted the answers to your questions below:

1) She was intrigued by the news and wanted to know more - Intrigued by the news she wanted to know more.

Why do we use this participle for this sentence? Here intrigued is an adjective. It’s a past participle serving as an adjective. It is a description of how she was feeling.

2) James was delayed by the traffic on the motorway, so he was extremely late - delayed by the traffic on the motorway, James was extremely late.

Why do we use this participle for this sentence? Here delayed is a past participle as part of a passive phrase: The traffic delayed James; James was delayed by the traffic.

3) She wasn't particularly interested in the talk and decided not to go - Not being particularly interested in the talk, she decided not to go.

Why do we use this participle for this sentence? In this sentence, you are explaining why she didn’t go to the talk. She wasn’t interested in the talk, she decided not to go. It is quite a stilted phrase and I think it is not very authentic. My guess is that a text book writer has included this to provide an example; it’s not a very common phrase.


4) She didn't make a very good impression at the interview and was worried that she wouldn't get the job - Not having made a good impression at the interview, she was worried she wouldn't get the job.

Why do we use “not having made” for this sentence? In this sentence, one action happens before another action. First action: She didn't make a very good impression at the interview. Second action: she was worried that she wouldn't get the job. She had made a bad impression before she felt worried. "Having" places one action further in the past.


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