Participles are used in absolute phrases with a noun or pronoun going before them.
- God willing, we shall meet again.
- The weather being rough, they cancelled the flight.
- The fog having lifted, the plane took off.
Note that each of these absolute phrases can be transformed into a subordinate clause.
- If God is willing, we shall meet again.
- As the weather was rough, they cancelled the flight.
- When the fog had lifted, the plane took off.
Note that an absolute phrase is a phrase which is linked to the sentence containing it only by meaning and intonation. It does not have a grammatical link of any kind with the rest of the sentence.
A common error in the use of participles
A participle is a verb-adjective. It should be related to a proper subject of reference. If the subject is lacking or if a wrong subject is used, the whole sentence would be wrong.
Study the following sentence:
Having bitten the boy, the farmer killed the snake.
This sentence means that it was the farmer who bit the boy and not the snake. It should, therefore, be re-written as ‘The snake having bitten the boy, the farmer killed it’.
Another example is given below:
Driving down the road, a leopard leapt out in front of me.
This sentence means that it was the leopard which was driving down the road. It should, therefore, be rewritten as ‘As I was driving down the road, a leopard leapt out in front of me.’