preposition in participle clauses

< Previous | Next >

andreagr

Member
italiano
Hi, everyone
I have read in my English grammar book (Advanced Grammar in use, Cambridge) about participle clauses with -ing and -ed.
I know that they a lot of adverbial functions ( time, cause, result,condition ) but I don't understand if I can leave out the preposition before the -ing verb without changing the meaning.
These are examples from my book, can I leave out the preposition without changing the meaning?
By working hard, she passed her exam = working hard, she passed her exam
On returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy = returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy
John was the first person I saw on leaving the hospital = John was the first person I saw leaving the hospital
In criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her = criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her

thank you for your help !!!
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    These are examples from my book, can I leave out the preposition without changing the meaning?
    There are a lot of questions that start "Can I leave out/omit ..." The answers are "Probably not." and "Why do you want to do this?"

    Can you tell us why you would want to remove a preposition?

    1. By working hard, she passed her exam (This explains why she passed the exam)= working hard, she passed her exam (this does not link "working hard" with passing the exam - they are two separate actions.)
    2. On returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy (This indicates that he wrote whilst he was in Rome) = returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy (This indicates that he wrote during to journey to Rome)
    3. John was the first person I saw on leaving the hospital (You left the hospital) = John was the first person I saw leaving the hospital (John left the hospital)
    4. In criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her = criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her (see 1)
    Students are taught about gerunds and how they act as nouns. Gerunds/participles are complicated and much time is spent teaching them. Students think that, because a lot of time has been spent, it is common to use a gerund as the subject of a clause: it is not - try to avoid it in the same way that native speakers do..

    Preposition + gerund is mainly used to produce an adjectival/adverbial clause.
     
    Last edited:

    andreagr

    Member
    italiano
    and "Why do you want to do this?"

    Thanks for your answer.
    I want to leave out them before in the same book I have seen similar senteces without preposition
    For example:
    The fruit was exprensive, being exported = The fruit was exprensive, because it was exported
    In writing about Spain, I came to undestand the country better = because I wrote about Spain , I came to undestand the country better .
    Opening her eyes, the baby began to cry = When the baby opened her eyes , she began to cry
    On/upon picking up the car keys, she ran from the room = when she picked up the car keys, she ran from the room

    I don't undestand why in " On returning from Rome ..." ,he was still in Rome ?
     
    Last edited:

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi, everyone
    I have read in my English grammar book (Advanced Grammar in use, Cambridge) about participle clauses with -ing and -ed.
    I know that they a lot of adverbial functions ( time, cause, result,condition ) but I don't understand if I can leave out the preposition before the -ing verb without changing the meaning.
    These are examples from my book, can I leave out the preposition without changing the meaning?
    By working hard, she passed her exam = working hard, she passed her exam
    On returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy = returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy
    John was the first person I saw on leaving the hospital = John was the first person I saw leaving the hospital
    In criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her = criticising the painting, I knew I'd offend her

    thank you for your help !!!
    Should you omit the preposition? Pay attention to context.

    John was the first person I saw on leaving the hospital ~ John was the first person I saw leaving the hospital
    The preposition "on" encodes the idea of "movement," the same idea expressed by "leaving." Should you leave out "on"? You decide. "John was the first person I saw leaving the hospital" is ambiguous; who's "leaving the hospital? John, or the speaker? We can't tell, though it might be clear to those in the conversation. By contrast, "John was the first person I saw on leaving the hospital" is crystal clear: the speaker is the one "leaving" the hospital.

    Sometimes, preposition + gerund transmit the idea of "after the fact" (it points to completed action). On returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy means After he returned from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy. Remove the preposition, and the gerund is left alone, and gerunds always means action "in progress." So, "Returning from Rome, he wrote to the Italian embassy" means that he wrote to the Italian embassy while the return trip was in progress (presumably, he wrote the letter on the plane, while the plane was in the air).

    In the book examples, it makes sense to leave the prepositions right where they are; otherwise, you might introduce ambiguity or change the meaning. In other cases, who knows? It would depend on the particular context.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top