Uses of the participle – part II

October 6, 2010pdf

Participles are also used in absolute phrases with a noun or pronoun going before them.

God willing, we shall meet again.
The fog having lifted, the plane took off.

Notes:

Each of these absolute phrases can be transformed into a subordinate clause.

If God is willing, we shall meet again.
When the fog had lifted, the plane took off.

A common error

As the participle is a verbal adjective it should have a proper subject of reference. If the subject is missing or a wrong subject is used the whole sentence will be wrong.

The following sentences are wrong because the participle has no proper subject.

  • Standing at the gate, a scorpion stung him. (This sentence means that it was the scorpion that was standing at the gate.)
  • Going up the hill, an old temple was seen.

We should, therefore, rewrite these sentences as given below.

  • While he was standing at the gate, a scorpion stung him. OR Standing at the gate, he was stung by a scorpion.
  • When we went up the hill, we saw an old temple.

More examples are given below:

  • Incorrect: Being a rainy day, we did not go out.
  • Correct: It being a rainy day, we did not go out.
Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."