28/5/14

Preparing for the 'oposiciones': participle clauses as adverbial subordinates

Participle clauses can have the value of an adverbial subordinate of time, reason, result, etc, especially in formal style:

Feeling tired, she went to bed early (= as she was feeling tired, she went to bed early,or she went to bed early because she was feeling tired)

Being imported, those cars are more expensive (=as they are imported..... or those cars are more expensive because...)
Opening her eyes, the baby began to cry (= when she opened her eyes.....)
Having lost the last bus, I had to walk home (= as I lost.......or I lost the last bus, so I had to walk home)
Not wanting to wake her, he tiptoed into the bedroom (= as he didn't want to..... or he tiptoed into the bedroom because he didn't......)
Used economically, one tin can last for two weeks (=if it is used economically, one tin....)

As you can see, the subject of the participle clause is usually the same as the subject of the main clause: 


Knowing his tastes, I bought him a science-fiction novel (I is the subject of both knowing and bought)


If the subject is not the same, we have a 'misrelated participle' (also called 'dangling participle'), which is generally considered to be incorrect:


* Leaving the office, my head was in a swirl (the subject of leaving is I, the subject of was being my head)


However, 'misrelated participles' are acceptable in the following cases:


- when the verb in the participle clause has its own subject expressed:


Nobody having any more to say, the meeting was closed.

The last train having gone, we had to stay in London for the night.

- when the main clause has it or there as 'anticipatory subject':


Being English, it is surprising that she doesn't like tea.

Having so little time, there isn't much we can do.

- in some fixed expressions referring to the speaker's attitude:


Generally speaking, women are better students than men.

Taking everything into consideration, he should be given another chance.

EXERCISE 1


Rewrite the sentences beginning with a participle clause:


1.- Sandra left work early because she didn't feel too well.

2.- When he had finished his work, he went home.
3.- The inscription was written in an unknown language, so it couldn't be deciphered.
4.- As I didn't want to offend him, I said nothing about his paintings.
5.- The manager extended Anne's contract because he was impressed by her work.

EXERCISE 2


Match the sentence halves getting new ones beginning with an       -ing participle clause:


1.- He was a doctor

2.- Clara had been a teacher for 15 years
3.- David had been unemployed for 9 months
4.- He didn't speak Italian
5.- I didn't expect anyone to be in the house

a.- He found life in Milan difficult

b.- He knew what side effects the medicine could have
c.- I walked straight in
d.- He accepted the first job he was offered
e.- She knew how to motivate children

KEY


EXERCISE 1


1.- Not feeling too well, Sandra left work early.

2.- Having finished his work, he went home.
3.- (Being) written in an unknown language, the inscription couldn't be deciphered.
4.- Not wanting to offend him, I said nothing about his paintings.
5.- (Being) impressed by Anne's work, the manager extender her contract.

EXERCISE 2


(1-b) Being a doctor, he knew what side effects the medicine could have.

(2-e) Having been a teacher for 15 years, Clara knew how to motivate children.
(3-d) Having been unemployed for 9 months, David accepted the first job he was offered
(4-a) Not speaking Italian, he found life in Milan difficult.
(5-c) Not expecting anyone to be in the house, he walked straight in.





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